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  • By Making Every Individual Shine, DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) Is the Origin of Innovation and Growth for a Sustainable Society

By Making Every Individual Shine, DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) Is the Origin of Innovation and Growth for a Sustainable Society

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Recently, the phrase "DEI" (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) has started cropping up more and more often. DEI means respecting the differences of each and every employee, creating a fair environment where everyone can demonstrate their capabilities, and fostering a corporate culture anyone can work in with a sense of fulfillment and empathy.

Hitachi High-Tech positions and promotes DEI as the origin of innovation and growth. As we enter the era of VUCA(*), customers and society face increasingly diverse and complex challenges. Relying solely on uniform thinking of highly homogeneous organizations or past achievements will not be able to address these needs and risks.

In order to respond to the complex market landscape and what our customers are saying, it is absolutely essential that employees with different way of thinking and diverse individuality engage in open discussions, and that each individual can demonstrate their leadership so that we can mobilize ideas. By promoting DEI in this way, we will create innovations that will lead to a sustainable society, while also promoting corporate growth.

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. It characterizes an era marked by unpredictable challenges amid rapid changes, complexity, and an uncertain future.

DEI promotion is about returning to the origin of corporate management

At Hitachi High-Tech, we consider the three concepts that make up DEI to be as follows:


Being a place where everyone feels welcome and comfortable, regardless of differences in their background, age, gender, sexuality, family status, disability, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristics. Some Differences are visible (such as skin color, tone of voice and attire while others are internal (such as thinking styles, attitudes, experience and beliefs).


Because each of us is different, we create environments that suit the individual and make adjustments to account for imbalances, then provide fair opportunities so that everyone can demonstrate their capabilities to their fullest extent and take challenges head on. " Equity " means creating an environment that is suited to each individual.
This is different from "equality," which means providing the same environment across the board without giving any consideration to differences (see illustration below).


By creating a corporate culture that is open and empathetic, we aim to ensure that each individual is accepted, respected and valued, free to express their thoughts, feels fulfilled in contributing to society and the organization.

From the left, visualizations of D, E and I.
From the left, visualizations of D, E and I. "Equity" emphasizes the creation of an environment
that is best for each individual considering their gender, disability, nationality
and other characteristics, rather than making everything the same "equal" indiscriminately.

Aiko Matsumoto, Manager of the Diversity Development Group, Human Resources & General Affairs Div., explains it thusly:

"Diversifying the attributes of employees is not enough. We must create a base where everyone has opportunities and is respected. In that sense, Diversity (D) is built on Equity (E) and Inclusion (I)."

Matsumoto continues, saying that "As a global company, Hitachi High-Tech has been operating with a focus on DEI, so this is not a new concept. However, as customer and social issues continue to diversify and become increasingly complex, I believe we need to return to our origin again and keep DEI in mind so that we can create innovations through intellectual synergy between employees who come from a wide variety of backgrounds."

Starting reforms in working styles and awareness in the field of women's empowerment

Hitachi High-Tech has positioned gender balance and cultural diversity among our global DEI topics, and we are making efforts to tackle the priority issues in each country and region.

In Japan, we began our initiatives in 2014, focusing on working style reforms and empowering our female employees. We have established systems that promote diversity at a company-level, including the Company-wide Diversity Promotion Group led by the President, and diversity regional committees in business locations in Japan.

Matsumoto recalls.

“Our initiatives from both the top-down and bottom-up, such as the President’s strong commitment to promoting diversity, and the continuing efforts to cultivate an environment and corporate culture that all varieties of personnel can flourish in at all levels—management, executive and employee—has given us great forward momentum.”

Hitachi High-Tech aims to achieve a proportion of 6.6% of managerial positions being held by women in FY2024.
As of FY2022, the proportion of women in managerial positions reached 5.2% (based on number of employed personnel). The percentage of women in their 20s in career-track positions is almost double what the figures were in 2014 (12.8%).

In addition, the proportion of new female graduate recruits reached 27.3% in FY2022, against the target of 30% or higher, and the breadth of women’s activity in our company is steadily expanding.

We have also created an environment where employees can work flexibly and autonomously to adapt to life stage changes, such as childbirth, childcare and nursing care, and have actively implemented measures for reducing long working hours, allowing remote work by utilizing home and satellite offices, and introducing the flex-time system.

On the significance of these working style reforms in terms of DEI, Matsumoto explains, "Although remote working became common due to the spread of COVID-19, Hitachi High-Tech had been used to this working style for some time already, so the company was able to adapt smoothly. I believe that being able to choose a way of working that suits the individual will benefit all employees—not just women, but also men and those with disabilities."

(Left)Working style reforms can eliminate the gender gap,
(Right)A roundtable by executives and female employees
gives opportunities to get career advice and inspiration.

So how do female employees want to work and develop? In order for employees to cultivate a mindset that takes a proactive approach to their own career, we are also focusing our energies on education and training programs aimed at developing leaders.

As an example, in the Leadership Training by Role Models held in 2022, female employees at the Assistant Manager level interviewed women in managerial positions to learn about the mindset and skills needed as managers.

In general, although women in technology companies are often found in corporate divisions such as general affairs, accounting and human resources, at Hitachi High-Tech, women in managerial positions in the technical and sales divisions are also increasing. We can say that our efforts so far are producing results.

Expanding our efforts in service of paternity leave, LGBTQIA+, employment of people with disabilities, and international personnel exchanges

Hitachi High-Tech is also expanding its DEI efforts beyond its support for women's empowerment.

Paternity leave is intertwined with the empowerment of female employees. Improving the work/life balance for men will reduce the burden on women, such as housework and childcare, and will create an environment where it's easier for women to flourish. Hitachi High-Tech has declared the slogan of "100% Paternity Leave," and the rate of male employees taking paternity leave was over 75% in FY2022.

"We named the initiative All-Out Childcare Support Project, with our hope that employees can focus on childcare when they're reaching the stage of life that is the birth of a child. I think this is the result of efforts made by all employees to bring this forward." Matsumoto recalls.

In promoting these initiatives, we are also working to cultivate a corporate culture where it is natural for men to take on childcare and housework responsibilities through providing information targeted at families via childcare support websites and holding cooking classes for male employees. Male employees in dual-income households have expressed that they would like to support their partners' career development by balancing family and work responsibilities.

An online cooking class for male employees
An online cooking class for male employees

In addition, it is not limited to stereotypical recognition of gender such as male and female, we have also added "same-sex partner" to our definition of family, working from the perspective of sexual minorities such as LGBTQIA+ persons, to enable their use of various internal systems. We also provide training activities for employees, such as seminars, and have published the LGBT in the Workplace Handbook.

In 2020, Hitachi High-Tech received the Gold Award in the PRIDE Index certified by work with Pride, a voluntary organization that supports LGBTQ+ diversity management. Our efforts to support sexual minorities have been recognized outside the company.

Hitachi High-Tech Support, a special subsidiary, is also working to support employment, new-hire training, and retention for people with disabilities, so that everyone can work as a team regardless of their disability status.
With our goal to exceed the statutory employment rate (currently 2.3%) by 0.5%, in FY2022 we achieved a 2.98% employment rate for employees with disabilities.

Also, creating an environment that allows everyone to flourish regardless of nationality, race or culture is crucial.
In FY2022, foreign nationals accounted for 14.5% of the new graduates recruited in Japan, and nearly 40% of employees had experienced overseas within seven years of joining the company.

Hitachi High-Tech has introduced the Global Assignment and Virtual Assignment programs as an initiative for improving personnel mobility on a global scale and proper resource allocation. This initiative features a cross-company/department matching approach to respond to the needs of workplaces that are looking for people with specific skills.

While the Global Assignment program transfers employees to group companies for one year or more, the Virtual Assignment program allows employees to participate in projects online without changing their country of residence, so that employees who cannot easily relocate overseas due to reasons such as childcare and nursing care can also have the opportunity to gain similar international work experience.

We have also established online and offline networks where employees who are foreign nationals and those who have experienced overseas can interact with each other across group companies. Through these networks, employees can receive advice from senior employees on cultural differences and other issues that can cause distress, also receive introductions to company systems to help them adapt to life in a different environment than before, so these are opportunities to deepen mutual understanding, which is indispensable for DEI.

"At Hitachi High-Tech, business is rarely completed within Japan, and working across countries and regions is the norm. That's why race and nationality doesn't matter; anyone can find meaning in working at Hitachi High-Tech and advance initiatives with a sense of unity while collaborating globally," says Matsumoto looking forward to the future.

Employees get the opportunity to deepen their understanding of DEI while developing their career with international work experience
Employees get the opportunity to deepen their understanding of DEI
while developing their career with international work experience

Improving employee awareness over a decade and making DEI our norm

It has been almost ten years since Hitachi High-Tech started its full-scale DEI initiatives. Improvements in employee awareness are evident from the FY2022 survey figures.

  • 74.3% of female employees responded that they are given opportunities to improve their skills and capabilities s (increase of 24.8% compared to FY2014)
  • 67.2% of male employees in managerial positions responded that they have demonstrated valuing diversity and inclusion management themselves (increase of 30.8% compared to FY2014)
  • 74.9% of all employees responded that their immediate managers support their efforts to balance their work and personal life (increase of 8.2% compared to FY2014)

Our efforts have also been recognized outside the company, earning us awards and certifications from multiple organizations in Japan, including J-Win (Japan Women's Innovative Network), an NPO that supports diversity management.

Receiving awards and certifications, including support for women’s empowerment, childcare and LGBTQIA+ for several initiatives.
Receiving awards and certifications, including support for
women’s empowerment, childcare and LGBTQIA+ for several initiatives.

"The proportion of women in Hitachi High-Tech's decision-making and managerial levels has also improved. Furthermore, I think the fact that a wide range of employees can play an active role regardless of their differences in attributes such as nationality, disability status and seniority is being reflected in our survey results in external evaluations."

Matsumoto continues.

"The diversification of decision-makers and members in all departments, including in Engineering, Sales and Services, should increase our readiness to respond to the various needs of our customers and society. But we still have some way to go and aim to reach a level where DEI becomes a matter of course, even if we don't even have to say the word ``DEI.''

Making DEI the basis for SDGs promotion

Hitachi High-Tech Group has formulated five materialities (key topics) that should be addressed in order to solve social issues, based on SDGs (sustainable development goals). DEI is directly related to "Materiality 5: Developing and Utilizing Diverse Human Resources." By promoting DEI, we will contribute indirectly to the other four materialities.

The five areas of Materiality of Hitachi High-Tech Group

Building on from the SDGs, we will contribute to goals "5: Gender Equality" and "8: Decent Work and Economic Growth." However, if we broaden our perspective, we can also contribute to "3: Good Health and Well-Being" and "10: Reduce Inequalities," and we can say that this would be the basis for realizing all 17 goals.

A workplace where each individual's differences are respected and employees with diverse backgrounds can work with a sense of acceptance gives rise to innovations that address the needs of an increasingly diverse and complex society.

"I believe that promoting DEI will lead to sustainable well-being for yourself and for society at large," says Matsumoto, returning once more to the significance of DEI. "Respecting each and every individual will also lead company as well as personal growth. It would be wonderful if we can create such a positive growth spiral."

An approach that aims for the sustainable happiness of society as a whole by simultaneously considering the happiness of one's self and of others.

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