business

Japanese firms near crisis point as labor shortage deepens

40 Comments
By Antoni Slodkowski

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

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
Login to comment

Japan's women should get first dibs at the jobs already available. They are a huge untapped labor resource that Japan has yet to exploit, and until they are exploited immigrants should remain out of the equation.

Perhaps, in the end, limited immigration will be necessary. But I'm not convinced immigration is the "magic bullet" some people seem to think it will be.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

What do they expect when such crap wages are paid?? 700 to 1000 yen an hour. I ask you, starvation wages.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Some people are being forced to retire at 62. It seems that offering the option, for those people, of working until 65 would help. In the case of pilots or other areas that require expertise, extending the retirement age even later might be possible, provided it doesn't block pension payments, provided the extension is not mandatory, and provided health is not an issue. I also agree with MGigante that more could be done to make more jobs available to women.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There is a kind of schadenfreude in watching Japan's xenophobic/racist chickens come home to roost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I read about there being no jobs for young people, about them being unemployed or having to work three of four temp jobs and so on. Yet the companies are complaining there''s no labor force. The solution to both problems appears blindingly obvious to me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I do think, in presenting this problem, that we have to distinguish between companies that can't find enough skilled workers and companies that won't pay a living wage to workers.

If the reason foreigners are needed is that no Japanese in their right mind would work for such low wages, then that isn't an employee shortage, that's just a cheapskate company.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

There aren’t enough captains and training one takes time and money

They want to run their cheapskate airline without having to pay for any training. Which means that any one who gets into these companies has no prospect of personal development as is also the case for the 700Y/h chain store workers, plus to have an income means other expenses like ponzi pension schemes. The people are there to do the work, its obvious that the reward is not more than the cost to the individual. At 1000Y/hr it would be better to get handouts and do misc work here and there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"The labour crunch began in construction where demand for rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has combined with the start of preparations for the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics."

With a now three year perspective on supply and demand, a works training program would have put many Japanese, newly graduated, bright and eager, in essential services and trades and ready to fill the predictable expansion of labor.

How was it in a nation of strategic thinking this gaping wound in productivity was left ignored? How much despair did this grotesque fecklessness create? Will there be a follow up article describing the triage response that can save this generation of young Japanese from unemployment and answer the demands of the decades ahead?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Corporations can tap newly graduating people more eagerly. especially female colleges and universities. Interior Decorater, etc. there are many talented females. One thing corporations have to be careful is that working environment has to be comfortable for female workers. Forbid married boss flirt female workers, sexual harassment, etc. They can recruit at nearby High Schools, too. Well. some business can get female workers by creating day care centers, too. This way, both married and unmarried female can be employed. And make sure corporations train their male workers do not to behave like the Tokyo Assemblyman.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan's xenophobia will be their undoing.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

my first job in Japan was 1000yen/hr when my boss dropped almost all the staffs salary to 800yen/hr. I said at that price ill go work for another company. since i brought more business to his company than any other staff member he decided to keep it at 1000yen. many years later i now work for myself and 1000yen/hr looks like slave wages. hell i wouldnt do that same job again for anything less than 2000yen/hr.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

labor shortage? where's the business? Q2 negative growth and questionable Q3?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not only that, even if I hire someone, they only last a couple of months. Young people these days just don't have what it takes. And this is a fairly young person judging young people.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The jobs are there if they want skilled worker to work at below unskilled worker wages. Are they surprised that there is a shortage of people willing to work at below market level wages in a country where simply existing is expensive?

I have yet to see IT wages return to pre-2008 meltdown levels and with a lot of those IT workers having either left during that 2008 financial meltdown or the earthquake/tsunami induced meltdown of 2011, there's not many left to fill those positions yet they still try to keep the wages low. This is what will do them in soon enough when they realize there's no one left to fill those jobs because they've driven the remaining ones to another country in search of higher wages and lower cost of living.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is no shortage of Japanese willing to be hired seishain (or by a contract directly with management). There is a growing unwillingness on behalf of younger Japanese to be hired haken and have their potential compensation coopted (by up to 40%) by a job agency which kicks a portion of its profits to back politicians and staffs its board with retired government officials.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Possible rising wages and the loss of low-paying jobs is a bad thing? Maybe all countries should seek population decline to stop the present race to the bottom.

The real problem is that the bourgeoisie and their corporate managers and talking heads in academia and the media have led the world to narrowly measure happiness or quality of life as GDP growth, which depends basically on ever greater numbers of people using ever greater amounts of energy to carry out productive and consumptive activities.

Now Japan is the first capitalist country to actually have a falling population, which means long-term growth is not sustainable. Some call for increased immigrations, but Japan has not been able to feed or energize itself for decades and it must exploit others for their food, resources and sweat. So in this sense, a declining population should be welcomed as it reduces dependency. The problem is that it will be accompanied by a shrinking GDP and economic decline. Yet if people go back to living with less (and producing less waste as a result), enjoying non-consumptive activities more and sharing what they do have, this so-calles crisis can be an opportunity to take the nation in a different direction, where a good society is not one only based on destructive economic growth requiring lower and lower wages.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This so MIJ!

To start companies need to be able to fire people NOT doing their jobs, 3 strikes your out! Needs to be fair & simple.

Get rid of bid rigging, rampant price fixing, amakudari, get rid of the reams of BS regulations where its hard to even open a coffee shop or a place to cut hair, its just ridiculous!

Get rid of all the wind sucking old useless oyaji who do little but take home a large pay cheque!

If you work about 40hrs a week YOUR FULL TIME with benefits etc PERIOD!

Pay decent wages, allow REAL competition, let companies DIE instead of having others buy these useless companies weakening the stronger more competitive companies.

Get rid of the highly discriminatory sexist work places that are EVERYWHERE in Japan, then maybe women will actually WANT to work there, just an idea DOH!

So Japan this is mostly MIJ WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?????

I ain't putting my $$ down on this one!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Jolted out of two decades of deflation by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reforms,

Can you guess whom the author supports politically?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is way too expensive and these idiots think they are going to be able to hire workers at crap wages?? Just for your information, in Tokyo the MINIMUM WAGE is some crap like under 900 Japanese yen an hour!! How in the world is anybody supposed to even try to SURVIVE on such crap wages?? It is only WORSE outside of Tokyo, so Tokyo, Japan has nobody to BLAME but themselves! Look at many construction sites here in Tokyo, you will see Iranians, Africans etc...working along side Japanese construction workers, but HOW MANY JAPANESE REALLY WANT TO OPEN UP THE JOB MARKET??? Not enough!! The English schools are also paying crap, I do not want to mention them by name but the wages are so bad, and they want to keep NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS as teachers???? Hahahaha! GOOD LUCK!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The real problem is that the bourgeoisie and their corporate managers and talking heads in academia and the media have led the world to narrowly measure happiness or quality of life as GDP growth, which depends basically on ever greater numbers of people using ever greater amounts of energy to carry out productive and consumptive activities.

Rather than blame "the bourgeoisie (do people less than 70 still use that word?) and their corporate managers" for the supposed ills we must endure, turn back the clock a couple of generations and look at the quality of life people enjoyed between then and the dawn of mankind. Then you should get down on your knees and thank providence that you live a life where you have heat, cold, light, food, and drink whenever you want it. Or that you can come or go when and where you please, and live to old age and in health unheard of by thousands og generations of human beings,

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

thank providence!?

Oh my god

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've noticed that many izakaya's seem to be short staffed these days.

You put in an order and wait for 20 minutes for it to arrive.

That was unthinkable ten or even five years ago...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In many industries wages have regressed, not increased unless your a pubic servant I guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If what the article claims were true, we would see a sharp rise in wages. I haven't seen any statitics which supports that, so my bllsht indicator started to flash heavily...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Isn't it strange that Peach cannot find pilots, whereas ANA has no trouble? The reason is the lousy salaries on offer. The answer is not to import third world labour, but to raise salaries. After many years of salary cuts it's time for salaries to rise once again.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Isn't it strange that Peach cannot find pilots, whereas ANA has no trouble?

There is a big market of qualified pilots out there. However, with Peach's methods and manipulation of terms and conditions, most pilots leave sooner than later.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The good news.

It has suddenly become harder to exploit people. You can bet that the places shutting down because of the so-called labor shortage were hell to work in.

The so-called labor shortage might snag the Abe-LDP-Komeito military machine. Not enough people to make into soldiers. Another reason not to have kids: peace.

I'm hoping for more good news, like the outlawing of ageist forced retirement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds to me like a lot of companies that exploit 'temporary' 'part-time' workers are going out of business. Good. If you paid a living wage maybe you'd be able to attract the staff you need.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a myth. Japanese employers have spent the last 2 decades cutting their workers' wages and benefits, and generally destroying the workplace environment, while paying their shareholders bigger and bigger dividends and shifting their capital to China. So what do they expect when the economy starts to recover? Hello?

If they want to retain workers in an improved economy, then it's time to raise wages significantly. And yes, if you want machine-tool operators, you'll have to pay them more than 1,200 yen an hour and yes, you'll have to give them benefits, decent vacations, and all the conditions consistent of a modern prosperous society.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Here in Italy we have a huge unemployment, and reading this article makes me someway mad. Japan needs workers but they are not able to find them, it should open the doors to immigrants! When you have not any job, also low wages are okay. Believe me, I bet many foreigners would accept those jobs that Japanese people don't want.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In USA, Texas, there are many Central American children traveled there and toncress and Obama are trying to solve situations. These children came to USA escaping from violence and poverty. Parents sent them hoping somehow these children can eat food and get jobs. On the contrary, Japan has shortage in labor. How about Japan welcome Central American families to Japan to ease some labor shortage? Central America is not populated as Japan but some laborers are better than griping labor shortage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where I'm at in the US, a lot of folks talk about not having opportunities, but there are plenty here..they just don't want them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some here are short on memory, remember what they did to the Brazilian-Japanese families,seems a labour shortage is coming back to haunt, plus immigrants get no respect, so why should they want to come to Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Japanese women... untapped... resource"

Some are doing their best to fix this problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

as soon as japan realises that they are competing for skilled workers both gaijin & japanese. unless they can match other countries pays and conditions then they will continue to lose skilled worker to those countires

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese wages are pathetically low! Australia offers at least double for store clerks. What foreigner would want to come here face all the barriers of xenophobia and prejudice,have to learn Japanese etc and at the end of it take home a pay packet more akin to a third world nation"s than a first world one?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

sangetsu03

Rather than blame "the bourgeoisie (do people less than 70 still use that word?) and their corporate managers" for the supposed ills we must endure, turn back the clock a couple of generations and look at the quality of life people enjoyed between then and the dawn of mankind. Then you should get down on your knees and thank providence that you live a life where you have heat, cold, light, food, and drink whenever you want it. Or that you can come or go when and where you please, and live to old age and in health unheard of by thousands og generations of human beings,

When a word is appropriate, why toss it out just because the bourgeoisie don't like to be called what they are? If you knew your history at all, you would not talk about thanking providence, because it was not there doing battle for better working conditions and a better proportion of the fruits of the proletariat's hard working day. We all should be thanking the labourers who came together in unions and were bloodied or died to establish middle class conditions that so many take for granted and are rapidly deteriorating, now that unions have been under attack for several decades.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan's xenophobia will be their undoing. that has to be the quote of the year

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For unskilled laborers, Japan should ease its immigration laws. Many countries have minimum wages lees than 50 cents. Many are less than $1. There are many countries that have no minimum wage regulations, Japan's $8,32 is not bad but not like Australia's almost $17. US is $7,25 but many states has state minimum wages higher. Mexico is 61 cents. No wonder Mitsubishi pulled out from Ausie and Japanese automotive companies crowd Mexico. India 28 cents and Philippines 73 cents. Pakistan 51 cents, Skilled people need wages up, I mean monthly salary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some low margin companies (Watami, etc.) can't afford to pay living wages. Instead of importing foreign workers for them, workers who will not be able to thrive and participate in society on those wages, those companies must be allowed to wither and disappear. If they can't find a way to operate in society as it is, let them fail. Others will flourish in their place. Places that charge more and pay more.

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