business

Japan's labor shortage hits 45-year high

23 Comments
By Toshifumi Kitamura

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© 2019 AFP

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23 Comments
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Don't forget about the low wages. The salaries here are a joke and most of the people I know put in lots of unpaid overtime. If companies would pay more there wouldn't be such a shortage. But it's like talking to wall.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

According to labour ministry data released on Friday, the ratio was even higher in December, at 163 jobs available for every 100 people looking for work.

Still wages are not increasing, so don't expect those position will get filled anytime soon.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

The only way this can be remedied is by importing hoards of people from Third World countries who are willing and able to work for the peanut wages on offer here.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Along with a labor shortage, Japan has also been engaged in a lengthy battle against deflation. Last month, the Bank of Japan lowered its inflation forecasts for the fiscal year ending March next year to 0.9 percent from 1.4 percent.

An increase in the price level is not deflation, AFP. Are Abe/Kuroda hacks editing these articles before they go out?

At least we workers won't see our wages and savings devalue by as much as the government wanted to devalue them this year.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In Japan, the alleged labour shortage is a fabrication.

Politicians & the Keiranden are endorsing the alleged labour shortage (resulting of aging population and low childbirth rate) to promote immigration policies.

In a normal unbiaised economical setting, wages fluctuate according to supply and demand. For example, since last year in UK, as Brexit negociations are still ongoing, labour shortage because of a decrease in immigration results in an increase of wages !

But wages do not increase in Japan, despite alleged labour shortage. So something in definitely wrong here.

Moreover, as we are talking about labour shortage, unemployment rate in December 2018 was at 2.4%. We may think 2.4% is low, but it still represents more than 3 millions people. Noone can honestly believe that these 3 millions people are just lazybones who refuse to work.

They say Japanese people prefer office work than say... nurse caring, agriculture, factories. Why is it so ?

Do the "wages vs effort" balance has really nothing to do with it ?

Do the working conditions in the agriculture, whether it rains, it snow, it's a scorcher, you have to start working very early and finish working late, has nothing to do with it ?

Do the working in factories in front of the belt conveyor, with working shift patterns (mornings, afternoons, nights) has nothing to do with it ?

Raise the wages for the nurses, factory wrokers, farm workers for God's sake ! We will all see how that alleged labour shortage would quickly vanish, because it has never existed in the first place !

And it will profit to the economy, because unlike immigrants (technical trainees and so on), Japanese people who will get to work do not send more than half of their wages back to their country.

Raising wages is likely to cost less in the end, but they prefer bringing more immigrants into the country. That's so illogical that politicians are definitely pursuing an agenda which doesn't benefit Japan's general interest.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Low wages,nearly sub human working conditions...I wonder why...and oh taxes going up soon Abenomics sure is getting some great results!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

but they prefer bringing more immigrants into the country.

but they're not immigrants, just temporary workers, vast majority will never be able to obtain permanent residency or citizenship in Japan

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@wtfjapan

Of course they are immigrants !

According to the international UN definition of the word, whoever travels to another country and stay there at least 1 year is an immigrant.

It is just that Prime Minister Abe has invented a new definition of the word, not to frighten Japanese people and his electors, insisting they are not meant to stay forever in Japan.

Even technical trainees are immigrants, even foreign students are immigrants.

Everybody all over the world knows that, and Abe knows that too. Only Japanese people are decieved, on purpose.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't believe in labor shortage as long as there those ridiculous recruiting events for University graduates and not open hiring.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Let us look at some interesting numbers:

Greece 20.2% unemployment rate

Spain 15.2% unemployment rate

Italy 10.9% unemployment rate

France 9.2% unemployment rate

Euro area 6.9%

Japan 2.4%

The numbers speak for themselves.

Japan wins wins wins!

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

It's funny that whenever politicians or reporters speak about "labour shortage", they only insist on aging population and low childbirth rate (which are true), but never ever talk about wages, or should we say the no increase in wages in Japan, which is the main issue regarding the alleged "labour shortage".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Companies don't hire unless their projections tell them that demand is likely to increase. The population is aging, and nobody under 30 has any money they didn't inherit. Companies in Japan avoid hiring fulltime employees because of the difficulty in dismissing them, even for cause, and the cost of co-pay for various social insurance schemes. Thus, you have a situation where nearly half of those working are under-employed, lack benefits or social insurance, forced to take zero-hours contracts, and make barely enough to live on - but they can't get fulltime employment, or have family or other obligations that they can't meet if they have to work 60+ hours a week. My kids have calculated that even with bonuses, because of overtime they make the same per hour as most part-time employees. It all comes down to prestige, not pay, and jobs that offer membership in the middle class, and the prospect of promotion and security are able to get away with paying peanuts because the alternatives are too precarious for anyone who wants to start a family. And still the government can't figure out why the birthrate has been falling since the economy imploded in the '90's...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The numbers speak for themselves.

Look at all the old blokes waving glow-sticks in car parks on 700 yen per hour.

Japan's "unemployment" figures are pure trickery.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

no one wants to take these crummy jobs paying poor wages and with awful working conditions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I kid you not, I was a JET from 1993-1994 making 300,000 yen per month, that is 25 years ago and AETs are now paid LESS!!! Talk about wage deflation!!! Who can spend money like that??? That is just one example but you get the picture. The only inflation I see is the ice cream vending machines I see used to be 110 yen but now are making fancy products up to 160 yen.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

if there's a shortage, the price should go up in order to even the disbalance and fill the hole. If you take a look at job postings they offer the same wage/salary the offered for years, meaning no one actually needs the workers. Which means 163 positions for 100 seekers is FAKE. In reality there is much less positions open.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yet still the average Taro ain't getting any raises. Normally you'd have inflation but not Japan... the land where corporations rule and employees get shafted.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"I kid you not, I was a JET from 1993-1994 making 300,000 yen per month, that is 25 years ago and AETs are now paid LESS!!"!

Direct hire ALT are being paid 350,000 to 380,000

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Direct hire ALT are being paid 350,000 to 380,000

Glad to hear that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The main problem is young people not wanting to work at manual labor jobs. College graduates want to work at large corporations and trade school graduates want to pursue “trendy jobs” in fashion, beauty, etc...

Manual labor is mostly looked down upon as ”Yankii” work even though the pay is sometimes better than salarymen and has more opportunities for promotion.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is good news for Brazilians, many Japanese descendants are living in Japan and more are going as unemployment is high in Brazil, over 12 million jobless here. Brazil mininum wage is R$ 998 that makes less than 30,000 yen a month !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@John

You are absolutely correct. And the reason is the "reforms" that have moved corporate Japan toward shareholder capitalism. That means labor costs must be minimized in order to maximize shareholder returns.

The neo-liberal Einsteins who promoted Japan's economic reforms should have seen this coming.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Regardless of what is being discussed..

First start changing the employment system to allow or even require companies to retain and keep employees "beyond" the forced retirement ages set and "use" the experienced and efficient personnel even on a part-time basis. It will cost far less than to train foreigners or to train a newly graduated college student without any experience or training. Most importantly that immediately solves the language problem, also. The experience know their "lingo" (language) for their work where the newly hired or the foreigners do not.

That will also reduce the current need for elderly facilities from community services to care homes. That will also solve the problem of low income retired people who are capable of working but not using their real and well honed skills but forced to earning measly wages at menial jobs that really cannot supplement their retirement income.

That also adds to reducing the current trend in "divorces" which can create more burden on familiarizes and society alike, when either cannot perform for themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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