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Men being outperformed by women in workplace

42 Comments

What’s become of the Japanese male?

He’s had every advantage. His culture, first as a warrior society and later as an economic superpower, resolutely denied women their due, confining them to the home or the occupational margins. On men the fate of the nation was held to rest. They were primed for success. For a long time they succeeded. The idea of men being outperformed and overshadowed by women would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.

It’s thinkable now. In fact, it’s happening, says Shukan Post (June 6).

Personnel managers were reminded during this spring’s hiring season of an impression that has long been growing on them: female job applicants are brighter, sharper, more eager, more confident than males. They learn faster and communicate better. Men on the whole seem sluggish and dull in comparison, a state of affairs reflected, for the second consecutive year, in more female graduates than males finding jobs – 95.2% versus 93.8% this spring, say labor ministry figures.

That’s not the only statistical evidence. Additional confirmation dates as far back as 2009, when an internal affairs ministry survey, conducted every five years, found for the first time that female employees of five years’ standing were out-earning their male counterparts by some 2,600 yen a month – a step forward of historic proportions, given the unabashedly male workplace bias that Japan among developed countries has been most reluctant to slough off.

Personnel managers, their impressions still fresh from this spring’s just-concluded hiring season, seem to agree that, if it were a matter of people getting what they deserve, women would be running things. One personnel manager Shukan Post speaks to says, “On company tests the top 20 scorers were all women. If that was the only criterion, all our new hirees would be women.”

Why aren’t they? Why aren’t women running things? Very largely it’s the culturally ingrained notion that they’re not fit to, which helps explain why, ability aside, only some 8% of career-track employees at major Japanese companies are women. We could be on the cusp of a sea change here: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants to see women occupying 30% of executive posts at large corporations by 2020 – up from 4.5% as of 2011. Abe’s priority is reviving the Japanese economy. Corporations seem moved to cooperate on other grounds – namely their desire to revive their sagging selves.

Another question arises: Are the gender scales tipping as they are because men are losing qualities they once had and women gaining qualities they formerly lacked? Or have men always been naturally spiritless and women naturally spirited, only no one noticed because the male-oriented culture in effect veiled the truth in myth?

Shukan Post notes a tendency among mothers to spoil their sons rotten, raising them not so much to succeed as, above all, not to fail. There’s some truth in that no doubt, but it’s rather a shopworn bit of wisdom, too old to explain a very new development. Another hypothesis the magazine advances concerns women’s biological clock, which imposes discipline, the need to plan, and an awareness that the future does not stretch out indefinitely. The biological clock, too, is nothing new, but it’s application to the workplace may be.

Whatever the explanation, the facts are plain enough, and signal that if men don’t want to get left utterly behind as Japan poises itself for a revival of vigor and prosperity (if that’s what it’s doing), they had better wake up.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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This is nothing new and is true all over the world not just in Japan. Its particularly true in certain fields such as law where female students at law schools dramatically outperform their male counterparts. To be honest, as an employer in Japan, I have always preffered to hire women since you can at least expect a minimum level of intelligence and sanity, and I only take the risk of hiring a man as a last resort. I suppose I should be glad there are no anti-discrimination laws in Japan.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

Yep, I'm not at all surprised by this story; especially in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -5 )

in the work place... the woman have all the power in the home, should they decide to end a marriage the father may never ever seen their child ever again. Woman rule Japan not the other way around.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Anyone who has needed off-the-manual information at a store of any kind in Japan knows this to be true. Ask a man and get a wasted hour of teeth-sucking. Ask a woman and get the answer. Usually. Unless the store demands the women get the information from their (male) superiors.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Personnel managers were reminded during this spring’s hiring season of an impression that has long been growing on them: female job applicants are brighter, sharper, more eager, more confident than males. They learn faster and communicate better. Men on the whole seem sluggish and dull in comparison,

Absoutely confirms what my experience was in my ten years in big corporations as well as my own company in Japan. I generally had to hire men out of necessity, while the women were by choice. And my theory is that Japanese men have basically got a sense of entitlement while the women are much hungrier.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

The Japanese male has been raised to be a risk adverse wage-slave and helpless consumer. It is happening elsewhere, but especially succeeding here. If this makes them too afraid or reluctant to join the military and a lousy corporate soldier, it might not be such a bad thing.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In general women have outpaced men in the workforce in many categories. In many cases the wage gap for women has narrowed. Women have been moving into high paying jobs. There also seems to be a trend developing of immature, underdeveloped and irresponsible males who are incapable of creating a life of independence and self-reliance. On the contrary young female adults appear to be more self-confident, motivated, and goal oriented. The balance of power and control appears to be shifting in a big way in the workplace and possibly at home as well. Men and women today are more likely than ever before to assume roles that were dominated by the opposite sex in the past. Much of this is good news. Unfortunately there are young men that are not stepping up and assuming a leadership role in work, family, and society. More men seem to be falling into self-destructive behaviors or assuming a passive position in society. In the end men are changing. Males and females are being raised very differently today.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I work at a pretty traditional Japanese manufacturing company where many of the capable, qualified and English-speaking young women leave quite quickly, often to work overseas. Thankfully, we have lots of men who can go to many business trip to meet Europa, America and China customer.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I'll be sure to tell my male co-worker to work harder. He only works from 7am - 8pm.

Slacker.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It's not a matter of how much time people work, it is a matter of how much is accomplished, how much is done during that time.

A similar situation exists in many areas. In the gym (my forte), I get more done in a 45 minute session than a lot of people do in a 2 hour session.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@ borscht

Ask a man and get a wasted hour of teeth-sucking.

ROFL! Hilarious! (and I'm a man)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Things don't change overnight, but they're changing for the better. Just gotta wait it out...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ridiculous generalization.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'll be sure to tell my male co-worker to work harder. He only works from 7am - 8pm.

When I worked for a Japanese company, I and the female staff did more productive work in 8 hours than the rest of the male workers that worked from 7-8pm. The long hours the others put in seemed more to impress the president -- to their dedication but they just read and talked to look busy. Even though I continually exceeded the sales targets - my evaluations mentioned I still needed to work harder. Staying at work does not mean the person is doing productive work. There is a large difference here in Japan between what a male worker (and corporate management) feels is a valuable worker trait and traits the female worker feels are valuable. I find female workers in Japan are more interested in working productively and suit international business norms. Japan Inc won't move forward without this change I'm afraid.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I teach English at a higher education establishment in Japan and I wholeheartedly agree with this. Without doubt the female students outperform their male counterparts. They are generally brighter, usually have a better command of English, are more confident / less shy, are better communicators and produce better work.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's not a matter of how much time people work, it is a matter of how much is accomplished, how much is done during that time.

Well, he is the main sales guy, and without him, we'd go broke, but let's just generalize things so our opinions seem legit.

Could a cook work from home on a laptop?

it is a matter of how much is accomplished

Yeah, try telling that to factory workers.

Staying at work does not mean the person is doing productive work.

Yep, that's why I go home early, if I don't work from home.

But the poor schmucks who can't have no choice. Our sale guy works hard all day because he has to. I hope he gets paid well.

Back home, our capable workers were comprised of both men and women. The hopeless workers were also. It's going to depend on the individuals, the type of work and the company they work for.

Generalization quite frankly is stupid.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Well, he is the main sales guy, and without him, we'd go broke, but let's just generalize things so our opinions seem legit.

Could a cook work from home on a laptop?

If your main sales guy spends 10 hours a day doing squat, I'd rather have the guy who spends 2 hours a day but accomplishes sales during that time.

As to a cook, it doesn't matter if he spends ten minutes making a dish or thirty minutes, he has to sell the same dish. In fact, in most restaurants, if he is too slow, it actually hurts sales.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@gogogo

in the work place... the woman have all the power in the home, should they decide to end a marriage the father may never ever seen their child ever again. Woman rule Japan not the other way around.

How sad!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Genralisation but broadly speaking true. plus the women look way better as a rule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@David

If your main sales guy spends 10 hours a day doing squat.

Stop right there.

I've mentioned twice, in separate comments, that "our" sales guy works hard.

My company is not your company.

So I say again,

Generalization quite frankly is stupid.

At one place that I worked at, nearly all of the female staff trooped out the door at 5. Fair enough, they had families to take care of. The men stayed on and without them doing overtime, we would never have enough stock to send our customers.

Both the men and women worked their butts off.

As to a cook, it doesn't matter if he spends ten minutes making a dish or thirty minutes, he has to sell the same dish. In fact, in most restaurants, if he is too slow, it actually hurts sales.

You're missing the point.

A normal cook must be in the kitchen making dishes while orders are coming in. He or she can't just quit early unless there's somebody to take over or customers are okay with food that is not fresh. Can somebody work really fast in a pizza place and go home early?

How about the delivery boys, or girls? They also must work for set hours.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well looks like misandry is alive and well on this site.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'll be sure to tell my male co-worker to work harder. He only works from 7am - 8pm.

Your guy might be working his balls off but he'd be a rare one. Many guys are AT WORK from 7am - 8pm but they are wasting time and claiming overtime they have no business to be claiming.

My issue with these kind of comments is that usually there is a backlash from many men. I'm rather impressed this hasn't happened here. I have some amazing female students but the annoying thing is, most want to get married and quit their job and expect a man to make the money. Those women who DO have a career know they have to work twice as hard to get half the credit. I know this for myself and many other females I know. If/when they DO get promoted over men, the men will complain and suggest that the woman has "done" something else to get ahead.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Generalizaruon and misleading title. Also the claim about the twenty top score getters being women is unsubstantiated .

I support women in the workforce and executive roles, I would be happier if there were better skilled reporters and editors reporting news instead of "creating" or embellishing stories to get the ratings up.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Your guy might be working his balls off but he'd be a rare one.

Give me a break tmarie.

You work at a school or university and lecture people on the real world? Are you kidding me?

As for backlash from men, I have no problem with women getting ahead if they are actually are capable. Is there anything in my comments to suggest different?

No? Then why do you rant so?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Natures fault, women are from Venus, men are from Mars, the question is when is humanity going to get over it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have to add my 2 cents to the mix - my female language students are definitely head and shoulders above the males in attitude, intelligence and just plain 'doing the homework'. They're a pleasure to work with, plus, they're ladies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

....ok, no. First off, its not that one gender is superior over the other... its relatively simple - its competition. Women have to compete harder then men, they have to be "Better" to succeed and be acknowledged, its harder for them to be accepted otherwise... many men have just grown complacent.. I truly feel that within 100 years it will completely balance out with gender. Take me for example... I'm a man, And I bust my ass off, I am completely self taught in digital art, programing, modeling and animation, music production and physics for my game. I am a one man dev team of my own studio. I'm pretty sure I'll get downvoted to hell but what I had to say is pretty self explanatory. People need to stop focusing on gender and roles, no ones superior, its going to balance out, so instead of dividing and further feeding the whole Neanderthalic debate about gender... spurn on efficiency, eesh.... just that simple.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is true in more places than Japan. America has more women working and more women graduating college, over men. I myself generally hire women as a first choice. In fact women from many countries, Philippines, Japan,Hong Kong,Singapore,India for example can be counted on for a solid work ethic and an ability to learn fast and Do well. They are worth every dollar.

Men from the same places and add America,Europe,and other places, well the men can't be counted on. A bad work ethic,a reliability risk, learning new skills is a risk. Men are a last resort, they are not worth the risks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's about time to unleash the potentials of Japanese women. Most Japanese women ethics in the work force are a lot better the men.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And Japan's birthrate continues to spiral towards zero...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

**You work at a school or university and lecture people on the real world? Are you kidding me?

As for backlash from men, I have no problem with women getting ahead if they are actually are capable. Is there anything in my comments to suggest different?

No? Then why do you rant so?**

Proving my point very well.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Proving my point very well.

My comment is directed at your occupation, not your gender.

But if you want to play victim in that regard too, go right ahead. Real women would laugh at you either way.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Still proving it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese women saved Japan after WWII. Now can they same Japan Inc? I tend to think that men will get in the way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How did J women save Japan after WWII??

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The Japanese male has been raised to be a risk adverse wage-slave and helpless consumer.

I think there's some truth to this. Recently hear a lot of women complain that their sons-in-laws are spineless and wishy-washy, and they don't understand why. Look in the mirror, ladies! You raised them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tessa, indeed! Had a chat about this the other day. Japanese women aren't happy with the way men treat them? Who do they have to blame for that? The women who raised these men to behave the way they do. I see it getting worse, not better.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

hear a lot of women complain that their sons-in-laws are spineless and wishy-washy, and they don't understand why. Look in the mirror, ladies! You raised them.

The ladies raised their sons in law? You know, I bet in 99.9999999999999% of cases, they didn't.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

yeah! women in the workforce! that'll help take care of the birthrate. Most jobs where women outperform men are bullshit anyway.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ ReformedBasher

At one place that I worked at, nearly all of the female staff trooped out the door at 5. Fair enough, they had families to take care of. The men stayed on and without them doing overtime, we would never have enough stock to send our customers.

Now I don't mean to sound dismissive of your experience but are you comparing staff of the same level and responsibility? Perhaps they went home at 5 because your company simply doesn't have female sales, engineers or managers? Instead they have "Office Ladies", which are given little to no responsibility other than photo-copying, answering phones and pouring tea, which is un-necessary after hours, perhaps the males manage to pour their own tea after hours, I don't know.

Now if you were comparing a male sales agent to a female sales agent you might have a case, in which case I think you'll find the male will be given a run for his money. Why? Because the institutionalized entitlement isn't a factor when it comes to female workers and they have to work that much harder to maintain their position and status. Competition is a healthy thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think the goal should be gender equality/equal placement/salary in the workplace. This article does little to advance this, as essentially it is creating stereotypes of abilities based on gender. Whether the story being told is men are better or women are better, this type of dialogue does little to educate people that individuals should not be judged on gender.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@gogogo:in the work place... the woman have all the power in the home, should they decide to end a marriage the father may never ever seen their child ever again. Woman rule Japan not the other way around.

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Why should they divorce? She will be bossing her husband. Kakaa Tenka. Husbands comfortably let wives take care of home /all he has to do is just becoming powerless house husband, Example: John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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