Honda has joined the small list of Japanese companies (Rakuten, Uniqlo/Fast Retailing) who are making English the common corporate language – by 2020 in Honda’s case. It announced this in its 2015 Sustainability Report – compiled according to the UN backed Global Reporting Initiative standards, which include indicators on the environment, human rights, regional contribution and diversity of HR and communication.
The diversity of HR section makes interesting reading. For a start, there is very little data on Europe. As it is the smallest region (8,600 out of a global total of just under 205,000), and shrinking in terms of numbers of employees, perhaps it wasn’t seen as a major focus. The only European indicator of interest to me was the breakdown by % of senior managers from the local community – North America leading with 59%, then Europe on 40%, Asia & Oceania on 38% and South America36%.
The gender breakdown for Japan is a bit of a shocker – only 7% of the 48,000 associates are female, whereas it is 22% in Honda North America, 14% in Asia and Oceania, 12% in South America and 11% in China. As you might imagine, the figures for women in management are even more stark – 0.6% in Japan, 17.5% in North America, 12% in Asia & Oceania, 11% in China and 3% in South America (hmm, macho management rules?). But then I suppose this ought to be compared for other automotive companies in other countries.
Honda has also taken the painful step of establishing a global job grade system and a global talent board and regional talent boards to manage it. Maybe the next step is to transfer a few of those female managers around the world to even things out a bit? But anyway, full marks for bravery.
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