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Ace employee upbringing is a great opportunity to nurture human resources! A Virtuous Circle within the Company Created by Male Employee Nurturing
PwC Consulting, LLC

  PwC Consulting G.K., winner of the 2023 Tokyo Metropolitan Women’s Activity Promotion Grand Prix Award for Excellence, has been working to promote childcare leave for men as part of its inclusion and diversity efforts, and in fiscal 2023, 83% of its male employees took childcare leave, with the average number of weeks worked ( excluding weekends ) being 7.2.

 We interviewed Kenta Kawaguchi, a consultant who has actually experienced long-term childcare, Shunsuke Horii, Mr. Kawaguchi’s supervisor and senior executive officer, and Mari Tanikawa, executive officer in charge of I&D, about the benefits of promoting childcare and the specifics of their efforts. ( *Honorifics omitted below)

Photo of Mr. Kawaguchi, Mr. Horii, and Mr. Tanigawa

*Mr. Kawaguchi took a little over three months off using the company’s vacation and paid leave system, which this article refers to as “childcare.

I&D Initiatives to Support Flexible Work Styles for Diverse Human Resources

Tanikawa: Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) means accepting and making the most of diverse human resources, and the PwC Japan Group, including our company, has a diverse workforce that includes overseas personnel and people with disabilities. It is important that people with different backgrounds and values can work together while recognizing each other as colleagues. Everyone working in the Group can continue to shine at their best. This is the kind of I&D that PwC aims for.

 I&D’s initiatives related to childcare include internal networks such as “Working Parents,” where working parents can consult with each other about their individual concerns, and internal events related to childcare. In addition, we have created a Guide to Childcare Leave for Dads. We also surveyed male employees to find out if they would like to take childcare leave but are unable to do so, and we have a backup system in place to support those who want to take childcare leave but are unable to.

Mari Tanigawa PhotoMari Tanigawa

Eliminate the anxiety of people hesitant about childcare at the first entry point.

Horii: Basically, our consultants work on a project-by-project basis. Therefore, it is easier for us to make adjustments to their work if they tell us early on that they want to take childcare leave, and I think this has contributed to the increase in our childcare leave acquisition rate.

 When an employee asks for childcare, I say without pause, “Let’s take it! I do not mean this as a pose as a supervisor. This is not because I am posing as a supervisor, but because I myself have done childcare work in the past and have experienced firsthand that it is a very good thing for men to do. The experience of caring for one’s partner and understanding the unspoken needs of children during childcare broadens one’s perspective and allows one to see many more things than ever before when returning to work. In fact, Mr. Kawaguchi came back stronger than ever after completing the childcare program.

 We believe it is very important to give a cheerful push to those who want to do childcare and remove their anxiety at the first entrance.

Shunsuke Horii PhotoShunsuke Horii

Tanigawa: We have many employees who take longer childcare leave, but I feel that there is a tendency, especially among men, for people to be concerned about how much impact the longer leave will have on their mid- to long-term careers. In such cases, we discuss the person’s career from a medium- to long-term perspective and try to send a positive message, saying, “By taking childcare leave now, let’s aim for further career advancement in the future.

I want to start out as a parent with my wife. I had a senior dad to step up to the plate.

Kawaguchi I took childcare leave before and after the birth of my first child, from the end of December2022 to the end of March2023. Our company offers 5 days of paid leave as “special maternity leave for spouses” and 15 days of paid leave for both men and women as “special leave for childcare. Combining those two with paid leave gave me a little over 3 months off, during which time I was able to spend a lot of time with my wife and child.

 Before I started my career in childcare, I was anxious about making a major switch in my career once. However, I was determined to take it even though I was anxious, because I wanted to start a new line of work as a parent with my wife when our child was born. My wife was surprised that I was okay with taking so much, but we decided on the timing and duration of the childcare work while sharing the situation within the company, where there was a system in place and many members close to me who were taking advantage of it.

 I think the fact that I was able to take the first step by receiving specific advice from senior fathers who had actually experienced child-rearing, and feeling the warmth of those around me toward child-rearing, helped me develop a concrete image of what it would be like to be in child-rearing.

Kenta Kawaguchi PhotoKenta Kawaguchi

Tanigawa: Mr. Kawaguchi is often involved in global projects and is a key person in various projects. When I heard that Mr. Kawaguchi had become a father and would be raising a child for three months, I was as happy as if I had a grandchild, and I thought the positive impact he would have on those around him would be very great.

Fostering ace employees is a great opportunity to develop talent within the company.

Horii: Mr. Kawaguchi is so dependable that the client may not want him to leave the project. But from our point of view, it is an opportunity for us to show that “our company has other solid consultants besides Mr. Kawaguchi.

Tanigawa: We work on a project-by-project basis, so our way of working is to gather the human resources needed at the time for the project to create maximum value, but some people may think that if someone leaves due to childcare, extra work and burden will increase. To help everyone stay positive, I also value messages to those around me. For example, when I ask someone else to take over a task that Mr. Kawaguchi was doing, I do not say, “Please take over for me. I ask because I need you for this job and I really want you to do it. We are asking you to do this job because we need you to do it, and we want you to do it because ...” Explain this part clearly. We also try to create opportunities for growth by assigning younger workers to the job so that they can perform better than the senior worker while the senior worker is away.

Experience during childcare accelerates growth.

Kawaguchi: After completing the childcare program, I realized that although work is important, time with my family is equally important, and it has become easier to switch on and off. These three months gave me various perspectives, such as how to improve work efficiency in order to balance both work and family, and how to create an environment where I can cooperate with others.

For example, respect for the members around me. I realized that people who were working two jobs with their fathers were achieving results while juggling projects under such difficult circumstances. Having such people around me provides emotional support, and I think it has a positive impact on my own work.

I have dreamed of being a consultant since I was a student, and I feel that taking a break from work strengthened my passion for the job, and it was also a time for me to reaffirm what I want to do in the future and how I want to shape my own career. It was a positive experience for me in many ways.

Photo of Ms. Kawaguchi holding a child

Tanigawa: Mr. Kawaguchi has always taken good care of junior members and demonstrated leadership in leading projects. I think that after his experience in the Ikugyo program, he has added depth to his leadership skills, and is now able to give advice and engage in conversation while taking into consideration the backgrounds and situations of the project members. I feel that she has come back to us having gained solid experience and grown as a result of her time in the program.

The upbringing is “a period of time to come back stronger and stronger.”

Tanigawa: From the perspective of a supervisor or manager, I think that the mindset of ” one person will lose strength” or “we have to fill in the gaps” tends to prevail during the training period. However, if they view the training as a period during which the employee will return as a stronger asset, they will be able to send the employee off with a good feeling and look forward to his/her return.

 In addition, when it comes to childcare, the focus tends to be on the handover before the leave and the system during the leave, but it would be very good if you could also consider how you can support the success of the employee after he or she returns to work.


Kawaguchi: In my case, I was helped by the company’s system and the environment around me, but looking at the world, I feel that male childcare is still not the norm. However, I also feel that if someone speaks up, the world will start moving in a positive direction. I am sure that there is some hesitation, thinking that it might cause trouble for those around them, but I am sure that the impact of not taking childcare will be completely different. If you don’t take it, you may put up a barrier to those who want to take it in the future, wondering if it is OK for them to take it even though their seniors didn’t. On the other hand, if you take it, you may be saying, “My seniors didn’t take it. On the other hand, if taking the childcare leave makes people say, “My seniors took it, so I want to take it too,” I think it will trigger a cycle of mutual help and consideration within the company.

 People tend to think of childcare work as something you take for yourself and your family, but if you broaden your perspective a bit, it can have many positive effects on your company, your department, and all the supervisors and subordinates around you. If you are considering taking childcare leave, I urge you to consider it positively and put it into action.

Kawaguchi's family photo