Three key phrases represent the current status of the business environment in Japan, i.e. globalization, declining working-age population, and diversifying personal values.
In working against this backdrop, we are forging a work environment that puts a premium on job satisfaction, personal growth, and support for various work styles that will contribute to sustainable business practices and a sustainable society.
8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
Toyo Aluminium has sent a number of its employees on overseas assignments. As we focus on equipping employees with global skills group-wide, Toyo Aluminium Ekco Products Co., Ltd. (TEP) introduced a study abroad program in fiscal 2017. The program provides employees with an opportunity to study in Singapore, one of our major overseas markets. In fiscal 2017, two employees participated in this program that helps employees develop global skills as they learn the language spoken in this country that our business has forged close ties with while giving them a chance to encounter different cultures and customs.
The Toyal Group views empowering women in the workplace as one of its top management issues. Toyo Aluminium placed emphasis on hiring women in its 2017 recruiting drive, and as a result assigned about 20% of new female employees who joined the company in April 2018 to career-track positions. Toyo Tokai Aluminium Hanbai K.K. introduced a job shift program in 2017 and, thanks to the program, appointed a female employee to a sales position for the first time ever in January 2018.
While we have been working toward reaching the target set in fiscal 2016 of putting 3% of female employees on the career-track by March 31, 2019, the percentage was about one as of March 31, 2018. Although we are still only halfway towards meeting this target, we will work hard to nurture a culture that empowers women in the workplace and boost the percentage of women in career-track or managerial positions.
We are implementing various measures to reduce working hours as part of our work style reform initiative. In fiscal 2017, we launched a cross-sectoral meeting reform project to review meeting structures and significantly reduced the number of meetings (by approximately 18%). We also provide employees with facilitation training to make meetings efficient. In addition to that, we introduced a chat tool to replace email. These initiatives led to cutting the annual total hours worked per person by about twenty-four. We also kicked off an initiative aimed at transforming our company into a more autonomous organization where managers delegate more responsibility and authority to their subordinates. We will continue to work toward creating a more autonomous workplace where all employees can feel engaged.