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Try finding a job at 60

28 Comments

Few employers are looking for senior citizen employees, but senior citizens, increasingly, are looking for jobs, says Shukan Gendai (Dec 10). Retirement is not what it used to be. Pension funds are pinched ever more tightly as society grays, and the eligibility age, now 60, is certain to rise in the near future to 65 or even 70. With the standard retirement age at most companies likely to remain unchanged at 60, post-retirement employment is seen by many as a necessity.

Shukan Gendai’s writer visits a Hello Work agency in Tokyo to see what’s available. At a computer terminal, he inputs his age – 65; desired terms – full-time; desired job location – Tokyo. He draws a grand total of 37 possibilities, most of which require specific qualifications (nurse, auto mechanic, electrical engineer).

He changes tack and inputs “part time.” Well, that’s a different story – 4,702 possibilities pop up. But his initial optimism soon fades. What are the choices? Office building night cleaner, 840 yen an hour; apartment building superintendent-janitor, 1,000 yen an hour. Not exactly what he’d had in mind, but he soon learns that he’d better lower his sights, and when he notices an opening for bicycle parking lot manager, he thinks, “This is something I can do.” The trouble is, he writes ruefully, “If you’re thinking that, chances are a lot of other people are thinking the same.”

Supplementing the government-run Hello Work outlets are several private agencies, some of which feature “senior corners.” One such is the Tokyo Work Center, operated by the Tokyo Work Foundation. In 2008, its senior corner assisted 6,123 job-seekers aged 60 or over; in 2010, the number was 8,173. And yet only 20% of them, on average, find jobs.

“A lot of the people who come to us have insufficient savings. If they don’t work, they can’t live,” Shukan Gendai hears from Tokyo Work Center official Akiyuki Takada. “Many of them have their backs against the wall.”

But companies that can afford to hire at all in a struggling economy have a decided bias in favor of youth. “Elderly applicants are eager to put their skills and experience to work,” says Takada. “Most of them are looking for office work, or managerial positions. There isn’t much of that kind of thing, though, and what there is, when we introduce a veteran, many of them say right away, ‘Send us a young person.’”

With many older people staying healthy longer and social safety nets coming under increasing strain, somehow this country is going to have to evolve a system for putting its able-bodied elderly to work. Shukan Gendai sees no sign of it happening any time soon.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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There isn’t much of that kind of thing, though, and what there is, when we introduce a veteran, many of them say right away, ‘Send us a young person.’”

Wow~ I wonder if their consider someone in their 30's old.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

BlueWitch, for many employers here in Japan, 30's is old but some would consider hiring but most probably won't. In the states, if you can do the job, you can still get hired at 92! It's funny how some older Americans seem even more older because their bodies are creaky versus others who seem way younger because they are pretty fit (I don't mean Jack LaLanne fit; could be carrying spare tires!). I've chatted with many elderly people who surprise me when they mention how old they are. This one man was a bit bent over, shuffled when he walked, his voice was old and his buddy was big, jolly and quite genki. My friends and I were shocked to find out there was a twenty year difference between them. The guy in the creaky body was only in his early 60's! His buddy was in his 80's! I've come across a few Japanese guys here in their 80's who are not letting age slow them down. Most are skilled and still in demand (carpenter for mikoshi and whatnot). I'm hoping someone somewhere comes up with something for the retired people who want/need to work to do. Something that pays well and something that is fun/interesting to do. Work to stimulate the mind plus inflate the wallet!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The whole situation sucks. Forced to retire at a young age, but cannot collect pension until 65? Bad

7 ( +10 / -3 )

No body is forced to retire at 60. In fact its the other way around. Most people hate their jobs but CANT retire at 60 b/c pension doesnt kick in till 65.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Most people hate their jobs but CANT retire at 60 b/c pension doesnt kick in till 65.

Thank you for today's uninformed remark. The age the Japanese pension kicks in depends on the person's year of birth, but for males born in the late 1940s, it is 60. It is slated to rise gradually and may top out at 67, or possibly even 70, but the final details are pending.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Some information about social insurance in Japan here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elderly_people_in_Japan#Aging_and_retirement_of_the_labor_force

Way too much information here: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2010-2011/asia/japan.html

The situation of being too young to receive a pension yet too old for most jobs was touched on in the book titled "A Man with No Talents: Memoirs of a Tokyo Day Laborer" by Oyama Shirô. Life ain't always easy in Japan, is it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my area, the parking lot attendants, floor sweepers, and buggy gatherers are the elderly. I sometimes look at them and wonder if they are people like those described in the article. Men who had good jobs, were forced to retire, and now are forced to do menial labor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Men who had good jobs, were forced to retire, and now are forced to do menial labor.

Many do need the money to supplement their pensions. But I know others who simply can't get used to the idea of doing nothing all day. Aside from their careers as salarymen, they didn't have much of a life.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If you're looking to stay in Japan and don't have private income, this could be YOUR future. Where I work, there is mandatory retirement at 60 (with no final payment). I now qualify for pension from 60, the pension office worked out my entitlement and it now stands at 5,000 yen a month, rising to 8,000 at 65, based on my current contributions (been in Japan 16 years). So the prospect for me in a very few years is having a monthly income of 5.000 yen. check your real prospects, and above all, I suggest you don't sneer at all those older people you see doing menial jobs for 800 yen an hour. Even two hours work a week might be bringing in more than they get in pension, perhaps.

If they want to get seikatsu hogo to supplement their pensions, they have to destitute themselves first.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is no way its 5,000 a month. Maybe 50,000. Anyway, those blue collar workers deserve what they get for spending all their cash on booze and girls and not saving.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

No body is forced to retire at 60.

Actually lots of companies do have a mandatory retirement age of 60. When the full pension doesn't kick in until 65 it should be illegal, but for some reason it isn't.

The age the Japanese pension kicks in depends on the person's year of birth, but for males born in the late 1940s, it is 60.

It's a bit more complicated than that. A male born between April 1947 and April 1949 can receive the part of his pension linked to his income from age 60 (the amount depending on how long and how much he paid in), but he cannot receive the full pension until he's 64. Males born after 1961 will have to wait till they're 65 to get anything at all.

http://nenkin.news-site.net/kiso/kiso06.html

There is no way its 5,000 a month.

If as the crow flies has been paying in for only 16 years, he's lucky to get a brass farthing. It used to be you had to pay in a minimum of 25 years to get anything - one month too short, and it was hard cheese. They changed it recently to accommodate the free-riding sengyo shufu who 'forgot' to pay their kokumin nenkin contributions when hubby retired/changed jobs and stopped being a sarariman.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is one crazy system. I've seen fully qualified university professor booted for reaching 60. And they are at the height of their powers and insightfulness! I have professional friends who were booted at 60 from their company and are now facing living on the streets. What the hell is it with "60" that automatically determines a fully qualified professional loses everything? No wonder younger Japanese don't want to buy into this heartless system.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I worked for a Japanese electronics maker for 20 years and turned 60 this past summer. Of the 24 others who retired within the same month as me at our company I was the only one offered a position to continue working. The Japanese government gives me 30,000 a month called "thank you" money for continuing to work; also, I receive a national pension of 70,000 a month which will continue to increase every year until I turn 65. The 60 retirement age is not unique to Japan, its the standard policy throughout Asia which is better than most of Europe where its considered a human rights violation to work past 55...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

most of Europe where its considered a human rights violation to work past 55...

Average retirement in Europe is 65. In some countries up to 67.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Call me crazy, but after 30 or more years with my face plastered to the computer screen I would enjoy a janitorial job running that waxer with bliss down the halls. My gramps worked as a janitor after retirement in his 70's at a junior high and seemed to enjoy it. Also, no boss. I have a managerial job now and it basically sucks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My gramps worked as a janitor after retirement in his 70's at a junior high and seemed to enjoy it. Also, no boss.

Commercial cleaning is more demanding than office works. Client is your boss. If they are not happy, janitor will lose his contract soon. For the office works, whether the outcome is satisfactory of not, there will be pay checks regularly. As a staff, the pay may be lower. However the responsibilities is lower too.

Many seniors are sick and tired of physically demanding works. However there are very few job opportunities for them. In Okinawa, some elderly live more than 100 years. It is poorer than mainland too. For them, retirement at 60 is very unconvincing. Some have to work until they drop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They changed it recently to accommodate the free-riding sengyo shufu who 'forgot' to pay their kokumin nenkin contributions when hubby retired/changed jobs and stopped being a sarariman.

Why oh why does this country allow this? If they got rid of this system and made these women (or their husbands) pay their pension/health care like the rest of us who work FT, this country could save millions!

If anything, I feel for the young people who can't find a job. These guys have had time to save, get a penions, get married, have kids... The younger ones are being screwed out of all of this.

Funny, for a country that goes on and on about how well they treat their elders, they really do screw them over with the pension thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@naruhodo1 There is no way its 5,000 a month. Maybe 50,000.

Sorry, my mistake. 5.000 a week. I was doing the comparison to the UK system. It's 256,000 a year at 60, rising to 350,000 a year at 65. It's not based on any concept of what you need to live on, it's a number crunching exercise. If like me you were not paying in from 20 because you happen not to be Japanese, this is what the numbers pan out at. I think I'd have to collect this amount for about 20 years just to get back the money I paid in. The good news is if I manage to stay in work and keep up my contributions until I'm 60 that the amount just might rise to the dizzy height of 50,000 a month.

If as the crow flies has been paying in for only 16 years, he's lucky to get a brass farthing. It used to be you had to pay in a minimum of 25 years to get anything - one month too short, and it was hard cheese.

I know cleo, it's thanks to karakikan that makes me eligible to actually get something. Oh, and this is for two of us to live off as hubby is disabled and can't get work. He wants to, but they don't really go for disabled foreigners at many Japanese companies. We're training ourselves to be like the cars of the future, to live off water.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

if a company hires over 60 year old FT, the gov will pay (one time payment) about 950,000 yen to the company, it's about half that for PT up to 20hrs / week.

a few over 60 year old Japanese are working at my company, they have way more skills than 20 - 30 year old , I'd hire more over 60's any day!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

From interviews, a lot of these 60 year old men from Japanese corporate life are unemployable in a modern work environment. They expect to have the same status as their previous job, they have minimal IT skills, they require a compliant office lady to accomplish much of their work, are quite resistant to change, and are unable/ unwilling to acquire new skills.

Far better are the 'datsusara' who quit corporate life, and tried to establish their own businesses; they at least have initiative and drive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

According to my experience, I have been living in Japan for the last 7 years, I have a high academic degree and I am looking for a job now, Japanese companies are mainly looking for fresh men (just graduated from the University) between 21 and 25 (may be). The reason is very simple, they are young, basically they haven't done so much in their laboratories, are highly malleable, can make a brain wash on them according to the company's needs, are cheap and if they don't like them they will be easily fired.

The reason of the former is also very simple, seniority, that fact that is immerse in Japanese companies since the creation of the Japanese language. For Japanese people works nicely, but anyone that could have a different way of thinking (Japanese or foreigner) will not fit in the system. About the 60 year old people, well I believe they want to continue working (whatever it is their reason), but they are "out" of the system.

In Japan the system is the system whatever you like it or not. Is that something that must be changed? well I believe all societies have advance through time, Japan unfortunately is still far behind socially talking.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Try finding a job at 60? Try even finding one at 40.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'll bet Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara cannot understand how it's possible that it would be difficult if not impossible to fiind a job at age 60.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

News you can use!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm 53 and healthy, with 25 years experience and can't even get an interview, much less hope for a chance at a job. I thought the Japanese constitution says one cannot discriminate against gender, age, creed or color, but yet it's a daily practice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yessir.

Same as overseas they use excuses like "We wanted someone more energetic(ergo younger)", " We would love to hire the person but our clients don't like dealing with foreigners. So, sorry.", "Position already taken.", etc. I am in the same boat at age 44 add to that a single dad, foreigner and you get ....

I used to do my fair share of hiring workers so I know most of the work-around to get past the laws.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you don't have money saved for retirement then life is sure to be bleak

All of the mature economies are facIng greater spending and less growth-there won't be any money left in the pot soon!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe this is why old politicians rely on amakudari?? 天下り⁇

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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