Initiatives to Ensure Respect for and Otherwise Promote Workforce Diversity

SUMITOMO RUBBER INDUSTRIES TOP > Sustainability > Priority Issues > Kindness (A Kind Culture Where Everyone Can Prosper) > Initiatives to Ensure Respect for and Otherwise Promote Workforce Diversity

Respect for Diversity

  • The Sumitomo Rubber Group

Sumitomo Rubber Industries is engaged in a variety of initiatives to become a company in which everyone can participate actively in their own way. These include efforts to facilitate employee understanding and awareness activities as well as the constant updating of programs and internal regulations.

Initiatives to Ensure Equal Rights for Sexual Minorities

We implement various initiatives to create a workplace in which LGBTQ+ and other sexual minorities can work with confidence and feel free to express their authentic selves. To this end, we have communicated top management’s commitment and policies to the workforce. Furthermore, our Code of Conduct’s “I-2: Respect for Personality & Individuality” has made it clear that sexual orientation and gender identity constitute an integral part of a unique personality worthy of respect. In recognition of these and other initiatives, in November 2023 we were chosen to receive a “Gold certification” under the PRIDE Index for the second consecutive year.

Code of Conduct (PDF 5,107.4KB)

Programs and Guidelines

  • Formulated internal regulations regarding the registration of same-sex partners while making a portion of programs previously designed solely for employees with heterosexual spouses, including special leave for weddings or funerals, available to employees with same-sex partners
  • Made it possible for those with same-sex partners to use Company-owned retreat facilities, become recipients of insurance claims paid under group insurance or otherwise benefit from a portion of employee benefit programs
  • Began accommodating requests from transgender employees regarding their use of changing rooms and other facilities and arrangements in health checkups if requested by the individual
  • Established an in-house counseling desk through which those seeking counsel can engage with individuals responsible for promoting diversity & inclusion (D&I) while instituting an external counseling desk run by external specialist firms

Activities Aimed at Facilitating Employee Understanding and Awareness

  • Set up a cross-departmental project team tasked with promoting initiatives related to LGBTQ+, with project members appointed via in-house posting
  • Provided all officers and managerial employees with education to help them gain deeper understanding of LGBTQ+
  • Held seminars focused on facilitating a proper understanding of LGBTQ+, targeting non-managerial full-time employees who applied for in-house posting
  • Prepared a video program in-house to facilitate understanding of LGBTQ+, making it accessible from various Company facilities via the intranet streaming
  • Compiled and distributed an “LGBTQ+ Handbook,” which summarizes essential knowledge regarding and provides explanations on programs available to LGBTQ+
  • Implemented e-learning aimed at helping all employees learn about and gain deeper understanding of LGBTQ+
  • Participated in LGBTQ+ ally* projects sponsored by external organizations
  • Created a PRIDE version of “Chabo,” a character designed to promote the in-house dissemination of information regarding D&I, to be featured in internal and external PR materials

*Ally: People who proactively support and advocate for LGBTQ+

A PRIDE version of “Chabo,” a character created by Sumitomo Rubber Industries to promote the dissemination of information regarding D&I

Initiatives to Understand and Raise Awareness of Unconscious Biases

We believe that gaining an accurate understanding of issues arising from unconscious biases provides a basis for the development of a diversity-oriented organization. With this in mind, since 2019, Sumitomo Rubber Industries promotes ongoing activities to facilitate understanding of this subject among employees and urge them to reflect upon their words and deeds. In 2022, we also updated our Code of Conduct by incorporating clauses addressing the problem of unconscious biases.

Main Initiatives

  • Provided officers, managerial employees and non-managerial full-time employees with training focused on addressing countering unconscious biases
  • Prepared commentary materials and videos designed to raise employee awareness of the unconscious bias problem and distributed them via the intranet

Initiatives Related to Foreign National Employees

As part of the D&I project, we launched a project aimed at promoting the empowerment of foreign national employees. Based on results of questionnaires conducted in 2019 targeting these employees, we began providing Japanese language education while making English versions of in-house materials available to them. Moreover, an Employee Resource Group (ERG) was launched by foreign national employees in 2023. The ERG is currently serving as a place for these employees to share issues specific to them while developing suggestions regarding how the Company could make improvements.

Looking ahead, we will continue to conduct periodic questionnaires, promote measures to address issues and create an environment that is friendly to all employees.


Strengthening of the Internal Dissemination of Information and Upgrading of the Information Search Aid Available to Employees

  • The Sumitomo Rubber Group

In March 2022, we newly opened a webpage dedicated to the internal dissemination of information regarding D&I as part of our web-based in-house news outlet. Since then, we have proactively utilized this webpage to facilitate employee understanding of D&I. In addition, we created a dedicated portal of intranet content regarding D&I as well as workstyle reforms in October 2019. This portal helps us communicate the Company’s policies regarding these matters, relevant measures under way and the status of their outcomes in an organized manner, along with delivering messages featuring top management’s commitment.

In order to strengthen the dissemination of D&I-related information and encourage employees to utilize D&I-related human resources systems, in 2019, we made a chatbot function available to employees via the intranet to assist them when searching in-house information. In this way, we constantly strive to provide employees with easier access to information.

We have also created a cartoon character called “Chabo” to disseminate D&I-related information and promote the use of the chatbot among employees. Because the chatbot is expected to grow more efficient in the course of accommodating numerous inquiries from users, we are endeavoring to ensure that employees utilize the chatbot on an ongoing basis even as they develop affection for it.

In fiscal 2020, we also distributed a series of video-based D&I lecture programs navigated with the help of Chabo. As a result, we were chosen to receive the Most Excellent Award under the Internal Communication Character Grand Prix program as part of the 2021 In-House Newsletter Award. In fiscal 2021, we began disseminating more multilateral informational content via the use of Chabo. Today, Chabo is widely recognized among our workforce as a character advocating for D&I and otherwise delivering information from the Human Resources Department. Thus, Chabo is contributing to the enhancement of employee awareness of D&I and the dissemination of human resources system-related information.

*Sponsored by wis works, Inc.

Chabo, a mascot character created to disseminate D&I- and human resources system-related information

Securing Diversity in Employment

  • The Sumitomo Rubber Group

The Sumitomo Rubber Group aims to be a “company capable of empowering diverse human resources to serve as active workforce members and realize their full potential.”

In line with this aim, we promote such measures as recruiting foreign nationals and mid-career hires, rehiring those who have reached retirement age, employing people with disabilities and appointing senior management members who supervise overseas subsidiaries from among locally hired employees. We also strive to transition non-permanent employees to full-time employment status. In these and other ways, we endeavor to offer ever more diverse forms of employment so that each individual can best utilize their own unique competencies. Furthermore, we began allowing employees to switch between career courses available under course-based human resources systems as part of efforts to develop a diversity-oriented employment environment.

While nurturing a corporate culture in which people from diverse backgrounds can thrive, we will endeavor to achieve higher operational efficiency, which will, in turn, enable us to create more time to pursue innovation. By doing so, we will support the happiness of all employees and enhance our corporate value.

Number of Employees by Gender (Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd., non-consolidated)


Note: Figures are as of January 1 of each fiscal year.

Number of Employees by Age Group (full-time employees of Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.)


2021 2022 2023
Female Male Total Female Male Total Female Male Total
Younger than 30 136 1,064 1,200 146 1,149 1,295 148 1,246 1,394
30 to 49 397 3,413 3,810 412 3,432 3,844 425 3,430 3,855
50 or older 122 1,344 1,466 143 1,388 1,531 163 1,436 1,599
Total 655 5,821 6,476 701 5,969 6,670 736 6,112 6,848
Average age 40.3 40.6 40.5

Note: Figures are as of January 1 of each year.

Composition of Employees (full-time employees of Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.)

Fiscal 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
New recruits (persons) 322 355 427 283 557 518
New recruits (%) 5.9 5.8 6.7 4.4 8.3 7.6
Resignees (persons) 212 231 204 222 243 300
Resignees (%) 3.9 3.8 3.2 3.4 3.6 4.3
Foreign national employees (persons) 27 29 32 33 36 37
Foreign national employees (%) 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

Proactively Recruiting People with Disabilities

  • The Sumitomo Rubber Group

People with disabilities are serving as active members of diverse business units within the Sumitomo Rubber Group. Acting in collaboration with relevant organizations, we proactively recruit such individuals, who are, in turn, being assigned an ever-broader range of tasks, including back-office operations and light work at factories, with due consideration given to their aptitudes. In addition, we endeavor to develop an environment that is friendly to people with disabilities by, for example, installing specially-designed rest rooms and elevators as well as lowering the height of card readers attached to doors, with reference to relevant facility standards established by administrative authorities.

In fiscal 2022, the ratio of employees with disabilities was 2.39%, exceeding the statutory employment ratio. Looking ahead, we will continue to proactively hire people with disabilities and develop an even friendlier environment for them while paying attention to recent regulatory trends, such as the mandatory inclusion of people with mental disabilities into workforce and the upward revision of the statutory employment ratio.

Ratio of Employees with Disabilities (including employees at a special-purpose subsidiary)


As of June 1, 2022

Rehiring Employees Who Have Reached Retirement Age

  • The Sumitomo Rubber Group

In fiscal 1990, the Sumitomo Rubber Group launched a rehiring system for employees who have reached retirement age. In fiscal 2013, we also initiated the operation of a target management system and, in fiscal 2022, incorporated a job-based wage system to upgrade our human resources management system for these employees so that they are furnished with proper wages commensurate with their duties in line with clarified definitions of their responsibilities and expected achievements.

Number of Employees Rehired upon Reaching Retirement Age and the Ratio to the Overall Workforce


Developing an Environment Supportive of Diverse Workstyles

  • The Sumitomo Rubber Group

We are nurturing a corporate culture in which people from diverse backgrounds can thrive while endeavoring to achieve higher operational efficiency, which will, in turn, free more time for the pursuit of innovation. We will link these endeavors to support the happiness of all employees and enhance corporate value. We have also introduced relaxed dress codes for office workers. This decision was a part of ongoing initiatives under way since fiscal 2019 to ensure respect for the individual personalities of employees and create a workplace culture conducive to the creation of free ideas and autonomous thinking. We have also renovated a portion of our office spaces into location-free workspaces to invigorate workplace communications.

Facilitating the Relaxation of Dress Codes for Office Workers

  • Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.

In January 2020, we relaxed dress codes for office workers with the objective of ensuring respect for the individual personalities of employees and creating a workplace culture conducive to the creation of free ideas and autonomous thinking.

Currently, a number of employees are freely choosing whether they wear casual or formal outfits while giving due consideration to time, place and occasion. We also have heard from some employees that the relaxed dress codes help them keep their spirits up and achieve higher productivity.

The relaxed dress codes have made the atmosphere of our workplace brighter.

Introduction of a Location-Free Workspace and a Work-from-Home System

Sumitomo Rubber Industries has adopted a location-free workspace system at some business bases as it invigorates communications among employees and saves space. We also strive to update our office environment by, for example, installing dedicated booths for those who want to fully concentrate on their tasks. Moreover, we have developed a work-from-home environment with the aim of enabling employees to flexibly choose their work locations in light of the type of duty undertaken and thereby achieve higher productivity and innovation.

Going forward, we will upgrade our office environment in a phased manner in order to empower diverse employees to exercise their creativity and flexibly take on their duties.