Human resources

Aspirational goal

We will be the employer of choice by investing in people.


We will be a certified employer of choice every year in at least 60 locations by focusing on talent management, rewards, and empowerment.


We were certified as a Top Employer in 63 locations, an increase of 5 locations from the prior year. We were also awarded with local certifications in 8 locations.

Read more about our latest progress on the JT Group's tobacco business sustainability strategy.

As the global authority on recognizing excellence in people practices, we are delighted to support your ambition to continuously improve the HR policies that affect more than 30 ,000 employees worldwide. Over the years, we have seen great progress with regards to best-in-class talent practices throughout the organization. This is proven by the consistent presence of JTI in the top regional ratings, and the Company’s certification as a Global Top Employer since 2015.

David Plink,
CEO, Top Employers Institute

Our approach

The JT Group human resources management philosophy

We believe that highly skilled and talented people form the foundation of a company’s success and contribute to real sustainable growth. In light of this, the JT Group proactively takes steps to secure long-term engagement and employee satisfaction.

Diversity and inclusion

Our employees are assets to the Company, and their skills and spirit are the driving force behind everything we achieve. We are pleased to be an employer of choice, and our positive workplace culture and environment help us to attract, retain, and develop talented individuals. We are also taking further steps to create a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone can feel comfortable and be themselves.

With this in mind, we are currently focusing on these four areas:

Talent development

Today’s business environment is challenging, and it requires all of our employees to work together and acquire advanced skills. We are grateful to have talented employees who can confront future challenges together. Various programs take place globally and locally, and we constantly invest in our employees so that they can flourish professionally.

One of our key initiatives is our talent partnership program, which aims to develop the global capabilities of our employees and train our future business leaders. It is also a great opportunity for employees to network and learn from colleagues with different backgrounds.

As part of this program, we organize an ‘Exchange Academy’ every two years in our tobacco business. In 2018, 25 employees were selected to take part. The participants spent one week in Japan and one week in Switzerland, working in teams to analyze and formulate the JT Group strategy for sustainable growth. Each team then gave a presentation and made a recommendation to senior executives within our Group.

Reflecting our commitment to talent development, we often recruit existing employees to fill open positions. Our internal hire rate has now been above 90% for more than five years, and in 2019, 93.7% of employees were internally promoted.

Case study

Training the leaders of the future

To remain a fast-growing company, we need global leaders in the JT Group who can challenge the status quo, take the initiative, and harness the creative talents of our employees.

In 2018 and 2019, our international tobacco business set up a customized leadership development program called ‘LIGHT UP’, in partnership with INSEAD business school. This program targets high-potential employees at director or vice president level and aims to equip them with vital skills for the most senior positions in the Company. In 2019, a total of 32 employees from around the globe were selected to participate in this program.

The two-week course encompasses a wide range of teaching methods, including discovery learning, one-to-one coaching, facilitated discussions, and personal reflection. Participants found the course empowering and became more confident in fostering team spirit and working together on future challenges.

Strong leadership is not built in a day, so we will continue to run the program every year with a view to gaining more leaders across the Group.

This was a high-impact program focusing on strategy and performance management in complex settings, new business models, and the future of leadership. We really appreciated the enthusiasm, positive energy, and team spirit of the JT group participants.


All of our employees at all levels can access comprehensive training programs. Fundamental business courses in giving presentations, writing, or time management are available to those in junior positions. More advanced programs such as task execution, negotiation skills, or leadership are aimed at middle-management and senior positions. These courses are great opportunities for employees not only to develop their skills, but also to inspire each other and broaden their perspectives.

Various tools are available to make the training programs more accessible. For instance, in 2018, we launched a global learning platform in our international tobacco business. It is available to 20,000 employees, who can choose programs according to their interests, such as leadership or language learning.

In 2019, we also introduced an advanced, tailor-made platform for the 18,000 employees in our Japanese operations. The platform has received positive feedback from our employees.

Moreover, as line managers play a key role in our employees’ careers, we hold regular performance and career discussions throughout the year. We encourage regular communication between managers and employees, in order to leverage our employees’ full potential and boost their development. In 2019, 85% of our employees participated in the 2018 performance review.

Talent attraction

Another priority for us is ensuring that we are chosen by the best talent. Although our operation is worldwide, the Company is not yet well known in some countries, and we need to find ways to connect with talented individuals in these locations. Attracting Generation Z* is particularly important, as this age group represents a growing proportion of our new hires, and their unique skills will help drive innovation in the JT Group.

  • * Representatives of Generation Z aged 18+, born between the mid-1990s and 2001.

With this in mind, our international tobacco business launched the first global internship competition ‘Make It Bright’ in 2019, in which students from 17 countries pitched ideas for positive change to our business. The program reached nine million students around the globe, and more than 5,000 registered. The winning team from Ukraine will receive a six-month paid global internship in 2020.

Case study

Spreading the word

The tobacco industry is undergoing a major transformation, and we want to make people aware of the new opportunities that our Company offers. In recognition of our need for a stronger employer brand, we launched the ‘Join the Idea’ HR campaign in 2018, with the aim of making our Company more visible and attracting the right internal and external talent.

In 2019, we focused more on social media, especially LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, and the results were very encouraging.

Case study

Fighting for new opportunities for armed forces personnel

Approximately 15,000 service personnel leave the U.K. armed forces every year. Although they are highly trained, these individuals face difficulties in joining the civilian workforce, as employers do not always recognize, or know how to translate, their skills and experience.

As part of our wider diversity and inclusion focus, in early 2018 we launched a program to help ex-military personnel find employment, either with our own Company or other organizations. The longer-term aim of the program is to inspire other companies as well.

Through a close partnership with Mission Motorsport, we organized work placements, job shadowing, and CV workshops. We also held career inspiration days, which included an interactive interview workshop with actors and LinkedIn profile master classes.

We are members of Business in the Community’s Employment & Skills leadership team and Excluded Group taskforce. Together with other employers and organizations, we contributed to a best-practice employer toolkit, and are supporting Business in the Community’s work to identify ways for employers to improve employment outcomes for all excluded groups.

Our U.K. workforce now includes four military veterans, and we have been awarded the Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award for our support to the armed forces community.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion
For us, diversity means all the ways in which current and potential employees may differ from one another, such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin. Inclusion is about treating all employees fairly and respectfully and ensuring that everyone feels like they are part of the same team.

Establishing a diverse and inclusive workplace is a top priority for us, because we would like all of our employees to enjoy their work and to perform to the best of their abilities. We believe this brings a rich mix of viewpoints and perspectives, which can inspire new ideas, lead to solutions to complex issues, and drive our business forward.

In some respects, we are already highly diverse – our workforce includes over 100 nationalities in more than 120 countries, and it is vital for us to create a workplace free from any discrimination, where people can be themselves. However, in order to further strengthen our organization, we wish to increase diversity and inclusion in other respects and within senior management across our Group.

We welcomed a new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion in February 2019 in our international tobacco business, and established a practical and ambitious new strategy consisting of three pillars: Gender Equality, New Ways of Working, LGBT+ Inclusion.

Involving every employee is key to creating a diverse and inclusive culture. With this in mind, the new strategy was shared with employees during the first Diversity and Inclusion conference at our Geneva headquarters.

In the short time since the Diversity and Inclusion department was created in February 2019, employee awareness has risen, thanks to this wide-ranging program. To help us move towards becoming a more diverse, inclusive, and attractive workplace, we also plan to place a special focus on well-being and future generations.

Diversity, the state of being different, isn’t the same as inclusion. One is a description of what is, while the other describes a style of interaction essential to effective teams and organizations. Diversity and inclusion have become absolutely essential. They are not just abstract notions for me. I want all of our employees to benefit from this and to be themselves all the time, everywhere.

Christiane Bisanzio,
Vice President, Diversity and
Inclusion, JT International

Progress towards gender equality

We have been focusing on building a gender-balanced workforce and our Board members are heavily involved in working towards this ambition. A Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council at Board level in our international tobacco business demonstrates senior management’s support for this inclusive and forward-looking approach. Senior leadership have taken special training on identifying the obstacles preventing talented women from advancing their careers.

Another project to address this was a reciprocal mentoring program that matched JTI top management with more junior employees (including women, men and LGBT+ employees). The aim was to enhance top management’s understanding of some of the challenges facing female employees, while providing the junior employees with a valuable career mentoring opportunity.

To foster the professional development of female employees, we also launched a one-year sponsorship program targeting female employees, supported by senior leadership. To further drive gender equality, we established a global Employee Resource Group called “TogetHer”. This internal network is fully inclusive and open to all JTI employees.

Female representation in management* within JT

Employees in management positions 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2023 target
Female representation in management within JT (%) 4.0% 4.7% 5.5% 5.7% 6.5% 10%

Female representation in management within our international tobacco business

Employees in management positions 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 target
Female representation in management within international tobacco business (%) 27.6% 28.4% 28.2% 28.4% 29.3% 30%
  • *In JT, the management includes employees who are in a position of supervision or management, according to national legislation and practice (except executive officers). In our international tobacco business, the target refers to only employees who are in a director position.

As well as building a more gender-balanced workforce, we are aiming for equal pay and the equal representation of women and men in our recruitment process. Following our Geneva headquarters’ recognition as an equal-salary employer by the EQUAL-SALARY Foundation in 2018, we are now aiming to apply the same approach in other countries.

As a mother and grandmother, with a son, daughter, grandson, and granddaughter, I want future generations to grow up in a world where equal pay is a reality. With every single action taken by companies like JTI in tackling the gender pay gap, the whole equal pay movement grows and gains more attention.

Véronique Goy Veenhuys,
Founder and CEO, EQUAL-SALARY Foundation

In recognition of our exceptional work in promoting women’s success in the workplace, in 2020 JT has been named a ‘Nadeshiko Brand’ for its second consecutive year and its third overall.

Building an inclusive working environment

To ensure inclusion at all levels, we are also focusing on the LGBT+ community. In 2019, we took an important step forward by running workshops on LGBT+ inclusion in certain countries in Asia-Pacific and Europe. The Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion attended, along with a number of experts in this field, including Out Now.

We also created a global LGBT+ Employee Resource Group with a dedicated internal communication platform (Workplace), to facilitate networking and interaction among like-minded people and enhance employees’ understanding of LGBT+ across the whole Group.

Furthermore, we believe in workplace equity and giving everyone the same opportunities. For this reason, all of our job vacancies in our international tobacco business are now published on, a global networking hub for LGBT+ professionals and graduates.

JT has made positive progress too, achieving the highest-ranking Gold status in the PRIDE Index 2019 for the fourth consecutive year.

Flexible working

Recognizing that different people have different working styles and needs, we promote a workplace environment that allows all employees to fulfill their potential. This includes working parents.

We encourage flexible hours and remote working throughout the Company. For instance, in our Japanese operations, employees are eligible for flexible hours and allowed to work remotely two days a week. In our Geneva office, we introduced a new policy which allows employees to work remotely four days a month.

In another move towards more flexible working, our international tobacco business revised the global dress code in 2019 to allow employees to wear what they feel is appropriate. Employee feedback has been very positive.

Additionally, we offer paternity and maternity leave exceeding legal requirements in some countries, such as the U.K. and Japan. We also provide childcare facilities and financial support with childcare. In recognition of this, JT has been certified as a childcare-supporting company by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

In some countries with an aging population, we also offer support for employees who care for older people. For instance, in the U.K., we allow employees to take time off to look after senior family members. Likewise, in JT, employees can take days off when needed, and the Company offers financial support for professional nursing care.

Diversity and inclusion

Being a responsible employer

Engaging with employees

As a responsible employer, engaging employees is crucial, and we communicate with our employees through multiple channels. Our aim is to foster a working environment that is free from discrimination, and to maintain constructive relationships with unions.

To evaluate the effectiveness of our programs and the level of engagement of our employees, and to identify areas for improvement, we carry out an Employee Engagement Survey (EES) across the Group.

In 2018, the overall survey response rate was 99% in JT and 93% in our international tobacco business. The survey includes a ‘Sustainable Engagement’ category, which measures employees’ job satisfaction and long-term commitment to the business.

In JT, the total favorable score for this category was 82%, which is 12 points ahead of the average score for Japanese companies. In our international business, 89% of employees gave a positive response, placing the Company one point above the Global High-Performing Companies Norm.

The EES survey is conducted every three years* across the Group. Additional employee-related surveys are available, so that we can always be mindful of employees’ concerns and quickly implement relevant measures. For instance, each office in our international tobacco business regularly conducts a survey named PULSE to check their progress towards key challenges which they identified via EES. In 2019, our Japanese operations introduced a new scheme allowing departments to carry out surveys at any time. A variety of options are available under the new scheme, including a three-minute survey for gathering rapid feedback, enabling departments to choose which option best meets their needs.

The input we receive from employees helps us to understand our strengths, the progress we have made, and the areas where we need to keep improving. Importantly, our people also help us understand what we need to do differently to maintain our reputation as a top employer.

  • * Before 2019, our Japanese operations used to conduct the survey every year.

Freedom of association and trade unions

The JT Group supports freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, even in countries where these freedoms are not a legal prerequisite. This means we are committed to open and constructive relations with trade unions and works councils. If one of our sites ever has to cease activities due to the operating environment it faces, we work closely with unions to ensure affected employees are treated fairly and beyond the minimum legal requirements.

We have a long history of positive industrial relations. Across the JT Group, industrial relations are based on individual countries' labor laws, and we aim for open and constructive relations with trade unions and works councils. Dialogue with trade unions generally takes place within the jurisdiction of our local operations, and typical engagements cover aspects of company management, strategy, and planning, as well as operational issues.

In line with the relevant European Directive, we also have a voluntary European Works Council agreement in place. Our European Works Council operates as an employee information and consultation body for transnational issues relating to our operations in Europe. The Council has regular meetings each year and is made up of employee representatives and members of management.