business

In Japan, a scramble for new workers disrupts traditional hiring practices

25 Comments
By Tetsushi Kajimoto

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Of course!! The treatment of performers and non performers as equals HAS to stop!! We are not living in a communist setup. I’ve been surprised (read educated) how my own image of Japanese professionals has changed over the few years I’ve been here. I think before coming to Japan everyone starts with assuming it’s all perfect. And then the education begins.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

For decades, Japan's traditional spring hirings underpinned the economy and provided a clear corporate and social ladder, grounded in - and reinforcing - the cultural emphasis on loyalty and conformity.

Perhaps Tokyo University/others can now reconsider plans to change their academic calendars, so that the school year begins in autumn. This is was the principal obstacle to that change.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Those are not "traditional" Japanese companies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Demand for workers is stronger now than it has been in decades; there are 1.62 jobs available per applicant, nearly a 44-year high.

Seems like there was an article similar to this in the not too distant past that made a similar claim, only that there were something like 1,75 jobs available per applicant.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Those are not "traditional" Japanese companies.

True. And they probably have to offer that bit more than some of the established names where status and security is more guaranteed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I used to work for a major western company, where we had “merit” based pay. While our US, European and HK colleagues had a fairly wide spread in bonus amounts between the lowest rated ranks versus the highest in terms of bonus as a % of base comp, here in Japan, the spread between highest and lowest was 5%. TIJ

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps Tokyo University/others can now reconsider plans to change their academic calendars, so that the school year begins in autumn. This is was the principal obstacle to that change.

They made the attempt, but Todai on it's own was not enough to get the overall system to change.

MEXT has to do it for all ES, JHS, and HS first, then the universities will change. It's far too ingrained into the social fabric of society here for it to occur even within a decade.

Far too many "traditional" companies still will hire based upon numbers and not need. These tech companies are an exception not the rule here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What a silly "article" not everybody can be an IT person. Some people might even say that there are more important jobs than making aps.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Salaries for IT in particular in Japan are generally well below what one would expect. Especially for Japanese native workers.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What a silly "article" not everybody can be an IT person.

The article never claimed every body could be.

Some people might even say that there are more important jobs than making aps.

Um, now your above comment makes more sense - you don't even know what IT is!

But ignoring that, the article never claimed there was no more important job than IT.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

But this article plays right into favor with PM Abe. Japan is changing, we have cast off the old system, or lifetime employment, now it is merit based. Work hard and you will be rewarded. Inflation will rise and the economy will boom, all thanks to Abenomics!

But you still poll high school and university students and the majority want to be (komuin) public servants. Why? Because it is safe and secure.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Positive signs. With near zero unemployment, Japanese companies must look at new ways to attract young recruits. Higher salary, fun work environment and promotion based on merit. New generation will lead the next boom in Japan.

I think before coming to Japan everyone starts with assuming it’s all perfect.

@ Pure Gaijin - Why would anyone ever assume any country is “perfect” before coming there?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I think before coming to Japan everyone starts with assuming it’s all perfect.

I think that people who thought that get particularly disillusioned with Japan, pretty quickly.

The rest of us take it as any country, with it's good things and bad things, and don't end up with that feeling of disillusionment.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Finally Japanese are getting paid

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That would cause a disparity among workers, causing uneven distribution of work and loss of motivation among those who feel left behind," he said.

And yet...amazingly...merit based system seems to work fine in other countries without the sky falling in.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The cost wasn't worth the price. If Japan's system was about better pay and benefits than the West, then it wouldn't be so easily replaced. Japanese will be able to see their families. Have lives. No more karoshi. Go home at 5pm. Leave a company and join another. Have personal development

Western system has its own pitfalls but every country deals with it with social programs (except the obvious one)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ Pure Gaijin - Why would anyone ever assume any country is “perfect” before coming there?

Ganbare. Let me clarify. What I meant was not ‘perfect’ in that sense. Of course this is the one country I’d still choose to live in, given so many factors that are indeed genuine.

What I meant was Japan has (to a great extent, rightly so) the image that of a just and fair work culture that may not 100% be living up to that image.

But at the same time I also do understand that treating performers and non performers justly and on basis of merit in dearth of adequate work force is a difficult job.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Change like this has been needed for decades, not just for new hires but changes in one job through life as well!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Labour ministry data show the entry-level salary stands at about 200,000 yen a month, compared with roughly 30,000 yen in 1968, or 130,000 yen in today's money. Wow! That base salary is low. That is 50,000 a week. At 50 hours per week, that is 1000 Yen per hour. At 60 hours per week (more realistic), that is 833 Yen per hour. Slave wages.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Cool, i like that, i started to work in a new company 5 months ago and have the same base salary as other. And doing just 40h per weeks. My over time is pay 35% more. And while working in public holiday i got an extra 20%. Life is good here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mercari employs 1000 people. I'm quite surprised and would have guessed under 100. When Facebook bought Instagram, it had about a dozen employees. I think Minecraft maker Mojang had thirty five when Microsoft bought it. Both deals were in the billions. The point is that Instagram effectively replaced Kodak, a firm which employed by the hundreds of thousands.

In terms of staff numbers, at least 3000 companies in Japan are larger than Mercari. It might be more representative to report on them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It doesn’t all have to change over night as you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak, but any moves towards flexibility and merit based thinking is always a welcome sign.

Just doing something cause it’s always been done that way isn’t a mindset that will survive the challenges of the next ten to twenty years at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MEXT has to do it for all ES, JHS, and HS first, then the universities will change. It's far too ingrained into the social fabric of society here for it to occur even within a decade.

You may be right, but I don't see why the schools have to change. I finished high school in May, worked for 4 months then started my freshman year of college. I know giving young adults a few months to rest on their laurels after examination-hell would come across as heresy, but they'd survive and benefit for the experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This phenomenon is older than the hills. “Stable” jobs at bigger and more established companies are the first to disappear, leaving smaller companies to fight over the remaining talent pool, and this process continues all the way down.

Fourth and fifth rate companies such as CyberAgent and Mercari are bit players mascarading as legit , and if they were paying a fair wage based on talent they would certainly be happy to have it disclosed.

Yo be fair, Japan’s old guard is not much better, with refrains if the sky falling, is just covering up a more systemic problem of not hiring for talent but for university name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I kinda feel sorry for the next generation of grads. There are so few unis in Japan providing a decent education that the rest are doomed to a "merit-based" pay system under which they'll squander there lives at subsistence level wages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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