Rakuten respects the unique qualities of its customers and employees worldwide. By nurturing their talents and passion, we believe we can succeed in our mission to create true value on the world stage. Hence, diversity is one of Rakuten’s key corporate strategies. We aim to hire the brightest talent from around the world, with unique and different perspectives to best serve our customers with innovative services worldwide, because we aim to be a company ready to change the world. We want to be a driving force for the advancement of human beings and society. We are pioneers, and we want others to be inspired by what we do and to follow our lead. As a company made up of diverse people and ideas, we will strive for the realization of these values and this vision.
With the commencement in 2010 of “Englishnization,” Rakuten’s initiative to make English the official company language, we have made it easier for employees to communicate with each other, regardless of nationality or origin. Englishnization has exponentially expanded our pool of potential hires from the relatively small number of people who can speak Japanese to over 1 billion English speakers worldwide. Since the project has taken root, the percentage of non-Japanese employees on our workforce has grown significantly and organically, rather than simply through acquisitions. We now have over 70 nationalities represented at our global headquarters in Tokyo, Rakuten Crimson House, making up 20% of our total headcount. We also hold cross-cultural training to promote constructive understanding of cultural differences and better facilitate communication.
At Rakuten, we aim to create an environment where employees of all genders can reach their full potential. We have implemented support networks and evaluation systems by which all employees, regardless of gender, can further develop their careers in ways that suit them best.
Support for female employees
In order to support female employees, who are more likely to have their career paths affected by life-stage changes, we offer career sessions, provide a parent network, distribute regular email updates within the company, hold a range of seminars (e.g. before taking maternity leave and before returning to work), and distribute a newsletter for employees currently on childcare leave.
We also have a Mothers' Room in Rakuten Crimson House to support mothers returning to work after maternity leave. The number of employees taking maternity leave at Rakuten has been increasing each year, with about a third of mothers returning to work within 8 months of giving birth. This is a big step for many mothers, as they are not only returning to full-time work, but they are also often still nursing their babies. The Mother's Room is designed to provide a comfortable and private space with chairs, tables and curtains. There is also a freezer where mothers can store milk to take home at the end of the day.
Support for parents
To support the balance between careers and parenting, Rakuten has an in-house childcare center to support the mothers and fathers among our employees.
In addition, the “Rakuten Family Empowerment Network” takes a proactive role in providing support for employees’ work and family life through collaboration with human resources and other departments under the theme of “Family.” For example, the network conducts Return to Work Seminars, guest talks, and introductions of fellow working parents.
Support for LGBT employees
In 2016, Rakuten, Inc. revised its definition of "spouse" in its internal policies. In addition to the definition of “spouse” according to Japanese law, Rakuten’s broader definition also makes same-sex partners*1 of employees of all genders eligible for company benefits. As of June 2016, we have an internal employee LGBT network that provides information sharing and support for LGBT*2 employees and allies*3 alike. We also host lectures and study sessions to raise awareness and address issues affecting LGBT individuals, open to any and all interested employees. We also have multi-purpose toilets available to all employees regardless of gender. We welcome and value diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity and strive to create a welcoming and comfortable workplace for all. In order to promote understanding of diversity among all employees and realize a “safe” and supportive work environment for everyone, we have established the “Rakuten LGBT+ Network” that organizes activities for LGBT employees and their allies, such as setting up information desks, providing training sessions and participating in LGBT events.
- 1 Same-sex partner: refers to partners whose legally registered sex (on their family registry or identification card) is the same as the employee.
- 2 LGBT: abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. This is not, however, limited to just these four groups, but is used more broadly to refer to a diverse spectrum of orientation and identity.
- 3 "Allies" (sing. "ally"): Refers to those who openly support rights and protections for LGBT people.
People with Disabilities
Rakuten subsidiary Rakuten Socio Business, Inc. was founded to provide a productive and welcoming working environment for people with disabilities. Rakuten Socio Business conducts a variety of essential tasks for Rakuten as an internet company, including data maintenance, business improvement, and website maintenance. At the same time, Rakuten Socio Business also contributes to many other aspects of Rakuten, including cultivating vegetables at an indoor farm that supplies the staff cafeteria. The employment rate of persons with disabilities has been roughly 2.4% since 2015, exceeding the legally-required disability employment rate.
We are working to improve the work environment to accommodate the needs of our diverse employees, including offering Halal-compliant and vegetarian meals at the company cafeteria. A prayer room and foot washing station are available for employees who choose to pray during the work day.
Rakuten believes that the experience and knowledge of elderly employees are valuable assets. We have a re-employment system to provide opportunities for employees who wish to work even after compulsory retirement.
In 2018, Rakuten was selected as a constituent of the MSCI Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN). The Index lists Japanese companies that exhibit a commitment towards promoting and maintaining a high level of gender diversity among their workforce, while maintaining superior financial quality.
In 2018, Rakuten achieved Gold Level in the work with PRIDE INDEX
Diversity at Rakuten
Total Number of Employees by Region
Employee gender ratio
Manager gender ratio
Employee age ratio
Ratio of employees with disabilities
Employee nationality ratio
Number of employee nationalities
- Data as of December 31, 2017
- Data Boundaries: Rakuten, Inc. (Total Number of Employees and Ratio of employees with disabilities cover the whole Rakuten Group)