business

Japanese firms hit by labor crunch

25 Comments
By James Topham

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
Login to comment

WELL - Japan needs to re-haul its labour- laws ---------------------the average J employee is overworked and seriously under-payed . . ......................and there is not a lot of legal protection for the labourer. . . .This needs to be addressed to humanize the workplace- . . . ......................Secondly, Japan needs to get out of its xenophobia and allow for decent immigration to offset the decreasing employable demogaphi.c

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan’s economy is expected to grow between 0.3% and 0.5% this financial year -

so GDP figures have finally come down to mere 0.3 to 05 percent as predicted by me long ago. whereas, so called economists were boasting nearly 2.0 percent rise. declining business activities and rising labor demand? only in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Heaven forbid some of these stingy companies may have to increase the meagre wages they offer to attract more staff. I cringed when some family restaurants in my area recently advertised on their door that they had upped the wait-staff wage to 810 yen/hour. $7.80! Outrageous. Pay more for staff or shut the businesses down, its that simple.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

How about offering better working conditions as a way to attract and keep staff? It needn't cost very much, but imagine how many managers would go into conniptions if they saw their staff leaving at 6 pm, instead of 10 pm.

If nobody wants to work for you the problem is you.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"How about offering better working conditions as a way to attract and keep staff?"

Because they think doing so will cut into their profits, and they need to keep their shareholders - most of whom are extremely wealthy individuals and financial institutions - happy.

Most of my Japanese private-sector clients are super-stingy nit-pickers whose staff are at their desks until 8 or 9 pm most nights. No way I'd ever want to work there. They deserve what they're getting.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

This is the first time Japan has faced a labor shortage since the late 1980s. Good news for young job seekers. For the last 20 years before this it was quite the opposite, with fresh university grads struggling to find jobs.

Essentially, the prevailing labor crunch is a result of demographics. Young people now entering the workforce were born in years when births in Japan were barely above 1 million, and they are replacing people retiring who were born in the immediate-post-war baby boom when births were well over 3 million each year. Young people entering the workforce five or so years ago weren't so fortunate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about offering better working conditions as a way to attract and keep staff? It needn't cost very much, but imagine how many managers would go into conniptions if they saw their staff leaving at 6 pm, instead of 10 pm.

As well as to attract women who don't want to give up family life (and a few men who might want a family life).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

increase the wages and people would come out to work who wants to work for minimum wage when they can collect more from government assistance

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pay peanuts, you get monkeys

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Solution? Pay more, give benefits, stop with the mandatory unpaid overtime racket.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Solution? Pay more, give benefits, stop with the mandatory unpaid overtime racket.

good solution but seems that companies are looking for better solution i.e. to import cheap foreign labor. Not a desirable move ofcourse,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is the first time Japan has faced a labor shortage since the late 1980s. Good news for young job seekers.

There's nothing good about this at all since companies refuse to budge on their absurdly low compensation packages.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

kaimycahlAug. 23, 2014 - 01:49PM JST

increase the wages and people would come out to work who wants to work for minimum wage when they can collect more from government assistance

Kaimycah:

What government assistance would that be?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Heaven forbid some of these stingy companies may have to increase the meagre wages they offer to attract more staff. I cringed when some family restaurants in my area recently advertised on their door that they had upped the wait-staff wage to 810 yen/hour. $7.80! Outrageous.

Exactly so. There get more on welfare than at some of these places that work them to the bone.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Considering about 70% of companies never pay taxes( ie no profits) this just shows how weak the overall economy is in Japan, add all the problems posters above are pointing out & things aren't looking too good.

I knew things were seriously headed south when happoshu first came out here, the decline has continued with cheaper worse tasting crap in cans for the working stiffs who need their buzz to put up with the BS that is current J-"living"

Like I keep saying Japan MUST re-invent itself WHOLESALE, EVERYTHING or the rot will simply continue, heck Japan may already be too far gone to recover.

The government & Japan Inc are running this place steadily downwards & folks hold on as the pace may start quickening!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes, Japanese legal MINIMUM WAGES are a joke! Go to NOVA and they are talking about 800 YEN for a 40 minute lesson as a starting base and then if your students show up, depending on the number they play the POPULARITY GAME and you may get an EXTRA 200 YEN!! WOW!! FOR NATIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS even in TOKYO, one of the most expensive cities in the world! So go figure!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In the last week there were two "reported" accidents at construction sites. One where a passer-by was killed by a falling object and the other where two workers were killed by a falling beam. Many of Japan's most skilled workers have retired within the last 10 years. Now they're hiring what they can get... and getting very little training in the process. Hopefully some agency will step in and start to require more on-site safety inspectors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, good.

Labor shortage means workers are more valuable; companies will have to rethink their hiring practices, wages & benefits, and how they treat their employees in general.

In any case, as the demographic situation worsens, this sort of think will only intensify. Better to start working on solutions now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If Japan is to recover from the labor shortage and improve economically they must take more aggressive action and bridge the labor gap by first increasing and encouraging the immigration of foreign workers by reforming and refining, not just Japan's immigration laws and practices, but of the general treatment and perception of immigrant workers in Japan. They should also tap into the underused native talent pool, of potential female workers. But reforms would have to be undertaken to facilitate more women's entry into the workplace with their sights on long-term careers. There would have to be better child-care facilities and services. Generous child-care subsidies to expecting mothers would have to be offered in order to encourage more women to enter the job market and to stay working, while also stimulating the birthrate. Raising the retirement age and offering incentives to workers to stay within the workplace and to pass on their expertise to younger workers could also be another solution.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who don't Government relaxing Tourist Visa rule for country like Burma or direct importing laborers from Burma and Cambodia?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The process of importing cheap foreign laborers for aforementioned sectors has begun already in the name of 5years trainee visa. But the gap of skilled workers in white-collar jobs can't be easily filled because of immense language barrier.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and yet japan refuses to budge on hiring more foreign workers, especially in the construction industry. get over your fear of foreigners before it's too late.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Who don't Government relaxing Tourist Visa rule for country like Burma or direct importing laborers from Burma and Cambodia?

Because Japanese lawmakers and much of the constituency they (ostensibly) serve suffer from an almost crippling fear of the dilution of the Japanese national identity. The don't want a Melting Pot, a la the United States, because they fear the introduction of too many foreigners too quickly will result in the breakdown of Japanese social and cultural cohesion.

Their idea is to allow foreigners into Japan in a slow and controllable trickle, allowing foreigners time to adapt and allowing society time to beat these newcomers into a reasonable facsimile of Nihonjinron -- minus the employment opportunities, respect, and various social and economic legal protections conferred as a matter of course to "full-blooded" Japanese citizens.

Obviously, this "trickle in" approach is not going to provide tangible benefits to Japanese economy in any appreciable way, but like I said, the fear of foreigners is a crippling one, blinding policy makers to economic realities that are far more dire for Japan than any perceived ill effects of foreigners on the Japanese identity.

It's almost as if Dejima is back open for business - Let the foreign barbarians into Japan in controlled bursts, make some short term cash off of them while they're here (in the form of taxes and Japanese pension contributions), then encourage them to leave quickly before they get any foolish notion that Japan appreciates their efforts to assuage Japanese insecurities by being more responsible and better-behaved than many locals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's ridiculous how companies pay ~1/2 to 1/4th of the wages you'd see in other developed countries. A grad from a top university making ~60k USD a year would be making the equivalent of 25-30k USD in Japan. Impossible to live on, especially in Tokyo.

Also, you'll be working well over normal hours, along with the traditional male-dominated society and xenophobia if yo're a foreigner.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The over 50 crowd want their cake and eat it too. I hate this selfish attitude. (Don't let foreigners in, but pay us our nice pensions...especially many who hardly paid into it).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites