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Labor Standards (Recruit and Nurture Diverse Human Resources)

JFE Group's Basic Policy on Human Resource Management

  1. 1Respect Human Rights and Facilitate Fair Management of Human Resources

    The Group manages human resources fairly by respecting the human rights of all employees and nurturing employees who embrace the Group's corporate values and standards of business conduct.

  2. 2Foster a Corporate Culture that Nurtures People and Promotes Satisfying Workplaces

    The Group facilitates interactive communication among employees to cultivate a corporate culture that nurtures human resources and creates safe, attractive environments where everyone can enjoy working.

  3. 3Diversify Human Resources

    The Group ensures that diverse all people, including women, non-Japanese, the elderly and the disabled, can demonstrate their full potential.

  4. 4Recruit and Steadily Nurture Excellent Human Resources

    To survive in an increasingly complicated and diversified business environment, the Group steadily recruits diverse, high-quality skilled human resources, ensures that they receive the skills and knowledge necessary to continue strengthening the Group's technological capabilities, and nurtures their global capabilities.

Posters displayed at each workplace
Posters displayed at each workplace

Workstyle Reform

To ensure the sustainable development of the JFE Group, it is essential to fundamentally review past customs and develop workstyles that enable each employee to be highly productive in creating new value with pride and satisfaction in their work. Under the Seventh Medium-term Business Plan, we intend to continue building workplace environments and internal systems that enable employees to fully demonstrate their abilities with a sense of security and safety.

JE Steel

Promoting a New Workstyle (Smart Work JFE)

To address its varied management issues, JFE Steel is accelerating its efforts to enhance productivity and will meet the diversifying workstyle needs of employees.

As society responded to the state of emergency declared under the COVID-19 pandemic, new lifestyles and workstyles became widespread. This was also true at JFE Steel, where employment styles that combine working at the office and at home have become applied, mainly at the head office and branches. Employee values on workstyles have also significantly changed. Seizing this as an opportunity to move beyond its response to COVID-19, JFE Steel is promoting its new workstyle (Smart Work JFE) to maximize employee productivity and output and to enhance engagement. In concrete terms, we will promote teleworking by expanding our work-at-home systems; introduce chat and web conferencing tools and robotic process automation (RPA), a software program that facilitates the automation of work done on terminal devices; promote paperless offices; eliminate the use of seals by applying workflow automation software; introduce a coreless flexible working hour program to shift to a workstyle with higher added value; and transform our corporate culture.

In addition, JFE Steel seeks to enhance the work-life balance by encouraging employees to take paid leave by designating annual planned leave days and offering a work-life-balance vacation program to support employees in taking vacations for personal life events, self-enlightenment, or participation in volunteer activities.

JFE Engineering

Enhancing Productivity with New Workstyles

JFE Engineering is promoting "vacation-style reform" across the company. Employees are encouraged to take Fridays off during the summer and consecutive days of paid leave following the completion of construction work. Out of 22 paid leaves granted, 17 paid leave days on average were taken by employees in FY2020. The company intends to raise this number to 20 in FY2021.

As part of its workstyle reform, JFE Engineering has introduced a flexible working hour program for offices, in which employees determine their own core work hours. Under this program, the company designates days on which employees must leave the office on time and in principle prohibits overtime work after 8 p.m. to encourage employees to more efficiently use time. Teleworking, which was introduced as a preventive measure against COVID-19 infections, was adopted as a permanent system from FY2021. Employees can work at home or at any of the roughly 400 shared offices nationwide, thereby supporting flexible workstyles.

In the area of construction, JFE Engineering is making greater use of IT at construction sites and expanding operational support provided by the back office to fully adopt a five-day workweek.

JFE Shoji

Initiatives to Support Various Workstyles to Realize a Work-life-balance

As a measure to realize a work-life-balance, initiatives have been implemented to reduce work hours, such as designating Wednesdays as the day to encourage everyone to leave on time, prohibit all work after 10 pm, and also designating days when employees are encouraged to take paid leave.

To support more diverse workstyles, JFE Shoji changed its flexible working hour program in April 2016 by setting the core worktime between 11 am to 2 pm, and by introducing work-at-home systems for employees pressed for time due to childrearing or nursing duties. The company also implemented a program called Challenge Days as a trial, in which employees can experience teleworking and shared offices, regardless of their time constraints.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, JFE Shoji has been flexibly applying its system, which includes expanding eligibility for working at home to all employees and temporarily adopting a flexible working hour program without core hours. Looking beyond COVID-19, the company set up a project team to explore new workstyles that are even more efficient and flexible, and it will consider promoting paperless offices based on digitization and developing offices that meet the needs of the new normal.

Operational Reforms

JFE Steel

Promoting Operational Reforms that Leverage the Newest ICT

To reduce employee time spent on simple for repetitive tasks and free up more time for creative work, JFE Steel implemented RPA, a software to facilitate the automation of human work done on terminal devices.

As of FY2020, RPA was deployed in over 300 types of operation, releasing over 49 thousand hours to be spent on other productive work.

In FY2021, JFE Steel will expand the scope of in-house development it began in the latter half of FY2020 to speed up its response to further labor savings and changes in operations to boost competitiveness.

JFE Steel is pushing ahead with a companywide project launched in FY2016 to upgrade mission-critical systems at each steelwork toward promoting operational reform as well.

The company will actively engage in operational reform by leveraging the newest ICT and use the time generated by the operational reform to improve customer service.

JFE Engineering

Smart-Work Project

JFE Engineering has been steadfastly developing workstyle reform, spearheaded by the Office of Smart-Work Promotion set up in FY2018.

Prior to turning remote work into a permanent system starting in FY2021, the company introduced an electronic seal system for all employees to eliminate the need to come into the office to apply the seal. As a result, more than 10,000 documents were digitized each month, reducing paper use by 40%. In addition, RPA, used to automate 211 tasks as of FY2020, and automatic translation tools increasingly being used by overseas divisions, have also contributed to raising operational efficiency.

By introducing various systems, measures and tools to boost efficiency, JFE Engineering aims to achieve both work-life-balance and improved productivity while maximizing overall output.

JFE Shoji

J-SLIM Activities

JFE Shoji will continue to drive its J-SLIM activities, which is an operational reform aimed at increasing work efficiency and performance. Introduced in 2018, RPA is now being applied across the company to effectively improve productivity, demonstrating results such as reducing the time taken for operations by 46,000 hours per year, or 3,800 hours per month, through automation, and expediting the provision of services. The company is also focusing on developing new work environments using the latest IT tools to digitize internal processes. Spurred by dramatic changes in the business environment that began in 2020, it will further accelerate the pace of its operational reforms toward developing new workstyles in line with the changing times to create a corporate culture that encourages continuous innovation.

Invigorating Workplaces through Small Group Activities

JFE Steel

JFE Steel has approximately 1,500 small groups that carry out J1 Activities* that have yielded various results in the key areas of quality and work improvement. In addition, the JFE Family Result Reporting Conference, which includes participation from Group companies, is held twice a year, and groups that excelled in the competition are dispatched to QC Conventions and affiliated companies in Japan and overseas to strengthen the J1 Activities.

*Designed to turn JFE into an excellent company and propel it to the number one position in its industry (called JE1 Activities at JFE Engineering and J1 Activities at JFE Steel and JFE Shoji).

JFE Engineering

JFE Engineering has about 160 teams and 1,400 employees, including those of group companies worldwide, involved in JE1 Activities. The results of these activities are showcased at a company-wide competition held at the end of the fiscal year. Activities focused on topics such as quality, efficiency, safety or costs contribute significantly to workplace vitality and corporate performance.

JFE Shoji

JFE Shoji has been conducting J1 Activities in production divisions of its group companies in Japan as a means of improving their problem-solving skills in areas such as safety, quality, cost, operations and delivery target. The company holds annual competitions in which about 20 teams report their activity results and awards are given to the highest achieving teams. The company will continue to promote J1 Activities to improve workplace vitality and improve problem-solving skills. The result of these activities are shared among Group companies.

Workforce Diversity

By designating workforce diversity as a key business objective and to address the ever-evolving business environment, the JFE Group is promoting efforts under the Seventh Medium-term Business Plan to maximize the potential of employees regardless of gender, nationality, creed or lifestyle.

Given the growing need in recent years to ensure diversity among managerial personnel, it is becoming increasingly important to secure diverse and excellent human resources, including women, foreign nationals, and mid-career recruits.

Structure for Promoting Diversity

To ensure the consistent promotion of diversity, each operating company has a Diversity Promotion Section to organize educational activities, such as rank-based training and women's exchange meetings, and to share and implement best practices across the Group.

Key Diversity Initiatives at Each Operating Company

JFE Steel

JFE Steel provides career support and management training for managers and other employees to cultivate a culture in which diverse human resources can demonstrate their full potential. About 400 women currently work on-site at the steelworks, mainly in workplaces that operate in shifts. To meet needs associated with childbirth and childcare, workplace nurseries have been set up in four areas in Eastern and Western Japan by 2019. In FY2020, the company established a program for helping employees maintain their work-life balance by discussing their career development through interviews with their supervisor and the personnel division. In this way, JFE Steel is creating a workplace environment in which women can continue working after childbirth or periods of childcare or nursing care.

The company intends to further expand areas in which women can advance their careers by organizing training for employees about to take on managerial positions to strengthen the required skills and by formulating individualized career assignments and development plans to respond more closely to their needs.

JFE Engineering

JFE Engineering engages in activities for reforming its corporate mindset, including diversity seminars for managers, e-learning programs for all employees and the annual Diversity Month. In FY2021, a Diversity Committee comprising the management team was established to deploy company-wide policies and set targets for each organization. For female employees, the company organizes leadership seminars and opportunities for exchange. It also accepts around 80 locally-hired employees of overseas Group companies at any given time to provide on-the-job training. The company also strives to create an environment in which workers can spend their time in Japan with a sense of security, by launching a helpdesk on daily matters for non-Japanese nationals, offering information through a portal site and providing Japanese language classes. Every year in Japan, JFE Engineering actively hires around 70 mid-career recruits possessing diverse characteristics and values, such as those with experience in other industries.

JFE Shoji

JFE Shoji intends to foster a corporate culture that embraces and utilizes diverse human resources and workstyles by implementing diversity seminars for top management and diversity management seminars targeting managers, including managers at Group companies.

JFE Shoji also strives to support women's career development, which includes providing a mentor program for new female employees in career-track positions and seminars for next-generation female leaders. In June 2021, it received the three-star Eruboshi certification from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in recognition of its excellent initiatives for promoting women's career development.

To ensure that women can continue working after childbirth or periods of childcare or nursing care, the company organizes information exchange meetings for employees on maternity leave and follow-up seminars after they return to work.

It also fosters global human resources and promotes exchange through measures such as management seminars in Japan for national staff at overseas bases for promoting them to leadership posts, creating an environment in which diverse human resources can pursue their careers with vigor.

Supporting Women in Professional Development

Formulation of an Action plan for Promoting Women's Professional Development

The Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace went into effect on April 1, 2016.

The JFE Group has designated the promotion of workforce diversity as a key management strategy for maximizing the potential of every employee and has been actively hiring and supporting the advancement of female employees.

In our latest move, we formulated the following action plan in accordance with the Act to establish a work environment that encourages female employees to demonstrate their abilities and create satisfying workplaces for all employees.

Action Plan Period

Period of five years starting on April 1, 2021 and ending on March 31, 2026

Target of the Action Plan

JFE had set a common Group goal of tripling the number of female officers and managers from levels in August 2014 by 2020. However, we were able to attain this goal in advance by April 2019.

We have already set a new goal of increasing the number of female officers and managers five-fold from levels in August 2014 by 2025, and we will continue to promote women to managerial positions.

Action Plan for Each Operation Company

JFE Steel (Japanese Only)

JFE Engineering (Japanese Only)
JFE Shoji (Japanese Only)

Initiatives for Supporting Women in Professional Development

The JFE Group is implementing a broad range of initiatives to support female employees, such as increased hiring, enhanced childcare-support programs that significantly exceed statutory requirements, and training and education.

Furthermore, the initiatives and issues faced by each company are shared among operating companies. They are also discussed at such meetings as the Board of Directors in an ongoing effort to promote the initiatives.

In recognition of its efforts to encourage the empowerment of women, JFE Holdings was selected three times as a Nadeshiko Brand* since FY2013.

*The Nadeshiko Brand represents a joint initiative by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It recognizes exemplary efforts by companies to encourage women to play active roles and continue working long-term. A single company is selected for each business sector represented in the TSE first section.

Company Policy Explained by the President

The president of JFE Holdings has endorsed the Declaration on Action that was introduced by a group of male leaders in Japan who intend to create "A Society in which Women Shine" with the support of the government's Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office. He also announced additional measures to support the professional development of female personnel, thereby communicating both inside and outside the company that women can play active roles at JFE.

For more information, see:

Declaration on Action by a Group of Male Leaders Who Will Create a Society in Which Women Shine

Employment of People with Disabilities

The JFE Group has three special subsidiaries, JFE Apple East Corporation, JFE Apple West Corporation and Mie Data Craft Co., Ltd., to employ people with disabilities and create enjoyable workplace environments for them.

For more on the employment of people with disabilities, see:

Data on Employment of People with Disabilities

Programs for Employees Over 60 Years Old

To ensure that the skills and experience of veteran employees are handed down, JFE Group companies have either raised the mandatory retirement age to 65 or introduced a system that enables all employees to work until the age of 65.

As of April 2021, 701 elderly employees, about 3.5% of the total, are working at JFE Steel, JFE Engineering, and JFE Shoji.

JFE Steel

JFE Steel raised its mandatory retirement age to 65 in April 2021 to ensure that veteran employees can remain highly motivated in their work and pass on their techniques and skills. While we used to rehire anyone who wished to continue working after reaching the age of 60, we recently established a personnel and wage system to cover all employees up to the age of 65.

JFE Engineering

JFE Engineering created the Skilled Partner Program to rehire employees who want to continue working after mandatory retirement at age 60. The company is preparing to extend its mandatory retirement age to 65 by FY2023 to encourage veteran employees to make an even greater contribution.

JFE Shoji

JFE Shoji is mindful of creating an environment that allows veteran employees over 60 to continue working with high motivation, while also seeking to realize flexible workstyles and develop a healthy working environment. Employees may choose from a variety of working arrangements, including full-time employment, shortened workweeks, and shortened daily work hours in accordance with their lifestyles.

Respect for Sexual Minorities (LGBTQ)

The JFE Group is creating a workplace that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity by conducting internal human rights seminars and position-specific curriculums. LGBTQ concerns have also been incorporated into the Group's compliance guidebook, which is distributed to all employees and used as a common textbook during the annual Compliance Month of October toward nurturing greater understanding. At JFE Engineering, e-learning programs are offered to all employees, and seminars are held mainly for personnel in human resources.

Securing Diverse Human Resources

Recruitment Results for University Graduates (FY2021) and Mid-career Recruits (FY2020) 670 people (three operating companies, excluding their subsidiaries)

Women in positions with prospects for promotion

13% (40 out of 306)

 Of the above, those in white-collar positions

23% (20 out of 86)

Mid-career and year-round recruits

16% (105 out of 670)

 Of the above, recruits in positions with prospects for promotion

23% (71 out of 306)

 Of the above, recruits in on-site positions at steelworks

9% (34 out of 364)

To ensure sustainable growth, the JFE Group steadfastly recruits from a diverse pool of applicants and actively hires women, foreign nationals and mid-career personnel, and recruits year-round.

The Group also operates overseas businesses across a broad range, and its overseas sites hire employees locally, thereby contributing to communities with employment opportunities.

Recruitment Results (Three Operating Companies, Excluding their Subsidiaries) for University Graduates (FY2021) and Mid-career Recruits (FY2020)

Category Career-track Positions On-site and
Clerical Positions
White-collar Technical Total
Male 66 200 266 332 598
Female 20 20 40 32 72
Total 86 220 306 364 670
Ratio of women (%) 23.3 9.1 13.1 8.8 10.7

Target Ratios for Female Recruits

  Position Target
JFE Steel Career-track white-collar positions At least 35%
Career-track technical positions At least 10 %
On-site positions for regular recruitment At least 10%
JFE Engineering Career-track white-collar positions At least 35%
Career-track technical positions At least 10%
Production/construction positions (technical) At least 10% (4-year average)
JFE Shoji Career-track positions for regular recruitment At least 30%

For more on employees, refer to the following data.

Social Data

Human Resource Development

The JFE Group collectively carries out human resource development with an emphasis on nurturing the capacities of each employee and cultivating global human resources to support the expansion of our overseas business. We intend to continue making a Group-wide effort under the Seventh Medium-term Business Plan.

JFE Steel

Utilizing Skill Data for Training Programs

The generational replacement of employees has peaked, raising the importance of boosting the skills of younger employees. Accordingly, the company applies an evaluation system at manufacturing sites to quantitatively analyze the skill level of each employee and then uses the results in its training system. It also promotes the use of IT such as a mixed reality technology-based training simulator for enhancing the quality of training.

JFE Engineering

Engineering Training Programs to Support Independent Learning

To enhance the knowledge of underlying technologies that represent a technological foundation for an engineering enterprise, the company's leading expert lectures over 30 different courses on basic technology for younger employees and mid-career hires.

A web-based learning curriculum launched in FY2018 offers employees opportunities to acquire business skills that cater to each job responsibility, including accounting and marketing.

Through these training programs, JFE Engineering provides younger employees with opportunities to grow through independent and continuous learning and strengthens the leadership capabilities of managers to transform corporate management.

JFE Shoji

Training and Measures to Maximize Employee Potential

To expand the trading business in Japan and overseas, JFE Shoji organizes a training program that enables personnel with diverse backgrounds to achieve growth in their respective work sites and business situations. The program includes a course aimed at developing the basic skills required of trading company personnel, such as those for negotiation, finance and strategic thinking, and another course for newly hired mid-career employees. In addition, it also provides an overseas trainee program that enables employees to experience business operations at overseas Group companies and invites regional employees hired at overseas offices that require a high level of competency to Japan for training in order to increase their skills and motivation. JFE Shoji intends to raise the level of competence across the entire Group through these programs targeting a broad range of employees.

Developing Global Personnel

In addition to hiring and developing non-Japanese for career-track positions in Japan and local personnel overseas, the JFE Group is enhancing programs for Japanese employees to gain overseas study and training. The Company is also developing younger employees through practical experience by dispatching them on overseas assignments.

Global Personnel Development Programs

   JFE Steel  JFE Engineering  JFE Shoji 
Study abroad
Short-term overseas language training
Overseas assignments for younger employees
Dispatching engineers to international conferences
Training for local personnel at overseas sites
Practical training in Japan for non-Japanese personnel at overseas sites
Internship for international students

Developing Dynamic Working Environments

The JFE Group is developing dynamic working environments through sincere discussions with labor unions and conducting employee satisfaction surveys.

We also seek to reflect the results of the corporate ethics survey, conducted every three years, to create employee-friendly working environments.

JFE Steel

Recognizing that labor-management cooperation is essential for the company to fully tackle its business challenges, JFE Steel has established a strong relationship with its labor union based on understanding and trust. The company convenes its Labor-Management Business Discussion Committee four times a year to bring the president and other executives together with labor representatives for the purpose of exchanging ideas on business challenges. The two sides also share views on working conditions and workplaces and hold joint consultations whenever the labor system is revised.

JFE Engineering

JFE Engineering strives to ensure sound labor-management relations. In addition to Central Labor-management Committees, which are regularly convened for the company's president and other executives to share views with representatives of its labor union, a labor-management committee on work-life-balance helps to maintain friendly working environments.

JFE Shoji

JFE Shoji management and labor have jointly declared they will achieve continuous growth for the company, enhancing the lives of employees and realizing an affluent society based on mutual trust and understanding. The company maintains a sound relationship between management and labor. Semiannual Management Committee meetings are held as opportunities for the company president and other executives to regularly exchange opinions and share management information with representatives of the labor union.

Promoting Satisfying Work Environments

The JFE Group complies with laws and regulations related to salary payments and sets salaries above the minimum wage designated by country, region and industry sector. In addition to meeting legal requirements on the upper limits for overtime and other mandates, the Group establishes challenging and satisfying work environments by providing employees with one of the top levels of employment conditions in the industry as well as performance-based bonuses linked to company profits.

Furthermore, the Group offers generous welfare benefits, including dormitories and company housing in order to provide a stable environment for our employees and encourage them to remain with the company for many years.