IBM Japan has topped Nikkei Woman’s 3rd annual survey of best places for women to work. “We had a tendency not to assign tough jobs to women “because they were women”, which was the root cause of the gap in experience and depth of role between men and women in our company”, says the General Manager of the Diversity & HR PR department (sic) at IBM Japan.
Looking at the appointments of women to senior roles that have been announced recently in Japan (and also the interview that precedes the survey report in the Nikkei Business magazine with Chiaki Sakurai, department head in a nutraceuticals division at Otsuka Pharma), Japanese women still need to signal very loudly, often by having been educated at a foreign university, that they are up for challenging roles.
The other companies in the top ten (scored on percentage of women in management, worklife balance, utilization of women and “equality” (numbers of men and women, and relative time in the company) were:
3. Daiichi Life Insurance
5. Sumitomo Life
6. Pasona (recruitment, temp agency)
7. Daiwa Securities
9. Meiji Life
10. Nippon LIfe
Note the large number of life insurance companies – the legacy no doubt of the largely female salesforce for life insurance companies. When I was working in Japan, the Insurance ladies regularly toured our office, leaving a trail of sweeties and leaflets in their wake.
Of the electronics companies, Ricoh is at 12, Panasonic at 15, Sony at 17.
Foreign companies (gaishi) are usually considered to be good places for women to succeed – so IBM at #1 and Novartis at #4 is no surprise – along with P&G at #11 and Accenture at #18.
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