Human resources

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.

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.

Diversity and inclusion

Our approach

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 countries by focusing on talent management, rewards, and empowerment.


We were certified as employer of choice in 61 countries with Top Employers certification. 19 out of these countries also hold other accreditations.

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

To offer all our employees the best possible experience, we are focusing on four areas:

Engaging with employees

As a responsible employer, we see engaging with employees as crucial. Our aim is to foster a positive and productive working environment, and to maintain constructive relationships with unions.

We measure the effectiveness of our people-come-first culture through an annual employee engagement survey at a regional or department level and a Group-wide survey every three years. The feedback we receive from employees helps us to understand our strengths, progress, and areas for improvement. It also helps us to make the JT Group an even better place to work, for talent acquisition and retention.

Highlights from our 2022 JT Group-wide engagement survey

In 2022, we conducted a Group-wide employee engagement survey targeting more than 50,000 employees worldwide - using, for the first time, the same questions across all our JT Group businesses globally. The survey response rate was 92%, which is 17% higher than the external benchmark. Overall, the Employee satisfaction (ESAT) score (“How happy are you working at this company?”) was 77, below the Global Top 10% benchmark of 81. We can infer that the impact of major internal and external changes in the working environment, such as transformation in Japan and changes in working patterns due to COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to the low ESAT scores. Given this result, we recognize that improving employee engagement is an urgent issue and will implement initiatives at executive level with a focus on clear and transparent communication.

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.

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, planning, and operational issues. If one of our sites ever has to cease activities, we work closely with unions to ensure affected employees are treated fairly and often go beyond the minimum legal requirements.

In line with EU legislation or regulations, 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.

Talent development and retention

We believe there is no limit to what can be achieved. We provide freedom and opportunity to learn and develop every day. We want everybody to adopt a continuous learning mindset that helps achieve goals and advance to new, higher levels of performance.

We have implemented various global and regional learning programs to upskill our diverse employees. Many of our courses are offered online, enabling employees to develop new skills even remotely. We constantly invest in our employees, including those at managerial level, to ensure they flourish in their careers.

Our commitment to talent development and retention is reflected in our internal hire rate for management positions, which has been above 90% for more than eight years. In 2022, 94.2% of management vacancies were filled by internally promoted candidates. We also hired many talented people from outside the organization.

We believe that providing many different development and career opportunities combined with flexible ways of working is essential to improve employee engagement, which leads to long-term employee retention, increased productivity, and improved quality of work. Across our Group, the total employee turnover rate was 12.1% and the voluntary employee turnover rate* was 4.5% in 2022.

*The voluntary employee turnover rate in our Group does not include retirement and early retirement.

Learning and development for all employees at all levels

All our employees have access to comprehensive learning and development programs and initiatives covering either basic or advanced leadership and/or functional skills. Our learning and development portfolio is fully digitalized so it is accessible to our people in all the locations where we operate.

Employees of our tobacco business can choose individual or team development options. They have access to 16,000 video courses through LinkedIn Learning, and can take part in targeted microlearning masterclasses, selected courses from recognized business schools, and core training programs which also include gamified solutions and learning simulations options. We also run various cross-regional leadership development programs to support and accelerate the development of young talent. Our collaborative learning programs (coaching and mentoring) are growing in popularity and in 2022, 1,325 employees were matched with either a professional coach or an internal mentor. All of these initiatives enable our people to continue to develop and master their skills.

In Japan, we refreshed our learning programs for employees in 2020. Employees are now grouped into five stages of development. At each stage, they participate in training programs on topics such as capability development, understanding roles and responsibilities, and inner reflection. On top of this, we try to boost career development by linking off-the-job training with on-the-job training.

Performance appraisal and career development

Line managers play a key role in our employees’ careers and hold regular performance and career discussions with their teams throughout the year. Regular communication between managers and employees helps to leverage our employees’ full potential and boost their development.

In Japan, evaluations are conducted once or twice a year depend on position grades. The evaluation consists of two main components: an employee’s personal performance achievements linked to function/team goals and an evaluation focused on individual progresses and behaviors. In addition to the evaluation cycle, career planning interviews with line managers are conducted once a year for all employees. In addition, in order to improve the quality of communications, we encourage to have 1on1 meetings frequently and to discuss about various topics such as work progress, their career, and personal life. As part of this initiative, we have introduced "1-on-1 meeting training" as one of JT training programs.

In 2022, 96.2% of our JT Group employees participated in the performance review. In addition, our employees can request 360-degree development feedback.

Talent attraction

A 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 wish to find ways to connect with talented individuals in these locations.

Attracting and retaining Generation Z (people born after the late 1990s) 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. From a sustainability perspective, it is critical for us to understand this generation’s professional expectations, which are different from those of previous generations.

With this in mind, in 2019 out tobacco business launched “Make It Bright”, its first global internship competition, with students from 17 countries pitching ideas for positive change to our business. The success of this first edition led to the initiative being expanded in 2021 to 36 countries with 8,000+ students participating. The 2022 competition was launched in October 2022 with a new campaign, a refreshed look and feel, and more flexibility for students to participate with their ideas about the workplace of tomorrow. The winners from each country went head-to-head in the final in May 2023 to win a six-month paid internship with JTI, with several winners becoming full-time employees.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Motivated employees with diverse talent are the bedrock of our success. JT Group has employees of over 100 nationalities, and establishing a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace for all our employees to enjoy their work and per-form to the best of their abilities is therefore a top priority for us. We respect different backgrounds and values, such as age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, and nationality, as well as experience and expertise. We believe that diverse workforce brings a rich mix of viewpoints and perspectives, which can inspire new ideas, lead to solutions to complex issues, and drive our business forward. Our continuous efforts to promote diverse, equitable and inclusive culture in our workplace have been recognized by numerous awards externally.

Gender equality

We have been focusing on building a gender-balanced workforce and our Board members are heavily involved in working towards this ambition. To further empower women, we hold workshops for top management and line managers, as well as training and seminars for female employees. Our new Group-wide target, specifically representation of women in leadership, is to reach 25% by 2030. We find it desirable that this should be more than 40% over time.

In Japan, we run various training sessions and seminars to help women to grow in their careers. We are also working to expand our support systems for balancing work and family life. In addition, we offer opportunities to take part in external training programs and discussions with senior management in order to promote career advancement among female employees.

In our tobacco business, we make gender equality a formal business priority. We are committed to increasing the representation of women in leadership positions as well as reaching gender parity at all levels. The world’s population is balanced, so we shouldn’t be any different.

Our global gender equality strategy aims to provide both women and men equal access to growth and opportunities in our workplace. We are investing in a number of initiatives to accelerate the advancement of women and spark progress towards gender equality globally. Senior leadership have taken special training on identifying the obstacles preventing talented women from advancing their careers.

We have implemented a number of talent management and recruitment measures. These include diverse and balanced interview panels, as well as a 50-50 equal gender slate of candidates within the final round of our interview process for leadership positions.

Global Equality Standard

In 2021 JTI was one of the first companies in the world to receive Ernst & Young's new Global Equality Standard, which measures equal opportunities and equal pay in the workplace.

In particular, we were commended for our flexible working measures, best-in-class global family leave policy, employee resource groups, well-being programs, digital learning and development schemes, and more.

LGBTIQ+ inclusion

Supporting our LGBTIQ+ employees is vital if we’re to create a more equal company, in which everyone is empowered to be and do their best. As part of our LGBTIQ+ Inclusion, we develop strategies, professional development opportunities and LGBTIQ+ inclusive policies in order to create workplaces which are inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.

PRIDE at JTI is a universal global community with more than 700 LGBTIQ+ colleagues and allies coming together in celebration, unity and solidarity. Our PRIDE employee resource group raises awareness, offers peer-to-peer support, and holds all of us accountable in all matters that affect the LGBTIQ+ community.

In 2020, the Geneva headquaters of our tobacco business was one of the first companies in French-speaking Switzerland to be awarded the Swiss LGBTI Label certification.

In Japan, we have made positive progress too, achieving the highest-ranking Gold status in the PRIDE Index 2023 for the eighth consecutive year.

Race and ethnicity

Racism has never been tolerated at JT Group and there are measures in place to prevent and mitigate any form of discrimination. We promote an inclusive culture where everyone can be themselves at work without risk of discrimination or harassment due to their race, religion, ethnic background, origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other protected characteristic.

New Ways of Working (N-WOW)

Enabling new ways of working (N-WOW) is a key value for our company, and increasingly necessary in today’s world. N-WOW represents a movement to boost flexibility and retention, largely by removing many of the barriers and management styles of the past and bringing them in line with a modern multigenerational workforce.

In July 2021 our tobacco business set out the N-WOW global guidance, which became a global policy in July 2022 and adopted a hybrid way of working that focuses on outcomes rather than time spent in the workplace. Employees now have the flexibility to work up to 50% of their time per month away from the office, benefit from flexible core hours, and work up to 10 days a year abroad, among other measures which redefine where and how work is done.

In Japan, we introduced full-time flexible working and no-limit remote working in February 2020. Our approach towards new ways of working is still evolving.

A family-first approach

In 2020, we launched a new family leave policy for our tobacco business, which came into effect in January 2021. The policy grants 20 weeks of fully paid leave to all employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, or location, when an employee becomes a parent through giving birth, surrogacy, or adoption.

In Japan, we have provided paid parental leave, paid spouse maternity leave, part-time working options for childcare, and financial support with childcare costs. In addition, we have childcare facilities at two factories and a private space in an office for nursing mothers to express breast milk for their babies and to change their diapers. In recognition of this, we have been certified as a childcare-supporting company by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

In addition to childcare, in some countries with an aging population, we 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. Similarly, in Japan, employees can take days off when needed and have part-time working options for nursing care. The Company offers financial support for professional nursing care.

We will continue to work on expanding programs to foster employees' well-being.

Read more about our tobacco business initiatives on JT International sustainability website.