Over half of job seekers against lifetime recruitment and seniority-wage system


On June 25, recruitment agency Workport, Inc released the results of their awareness survey on lifetime employment in Japan.

According to the survey, 68.6% of the survey participants answered that they weren’t thinking of staying at their current company (or company that they worked at until recently) until retirement when they first started working. Many indicated that they were planning to start their own business, or took the current job as a stepping stone for their career, while others noted that they took the job as a temporary position. Changing careers is getting more and more common in Japan, which might be why nearly 70% of workers don’t consider staying at the same company until retirement when they are first recruited.

To the question of the need for lifetime employment, 54.3% disagreed with the idea, while the remaining 45.7% agreed. The majority of those who disagreed stated that performance appraisal systems tend to favor older employees, regardless of their skills and experience. Many also said that occupational mobility is inevitable for social advancement, while diverse work styles are also widely accepted. On the other hand, those who agreed with the idea of lifetime employment pointed out the benefits of long-term financial stability, or the need for a safety net for those who have a limited opportunity for upward mobility.

Regarding the seniority-wage system, 71.9% disapproved while 28.1% approved. Those who disapproved suggested that performance appraisals should be focused on employees’ performance rather than their seniority, so that talented employees can stay motivated. Those who approved suggested that senior employees tend to have larger expenses than younger ones and senior employees’ loyalty towards their companies should be rewarded.

When the survey participants were asked whether they want to work for the same company throughout their career, or move to other companies if they have better conditions, 68.4% chose the latter option, considering switching careers as a positive change.

Based on the results of this survey, Workport concluded that, amid an ongoing and pressing labor shortage in Japan, companies should be required to balance both employees’ work performance and age in staff reviews and offer appropriate evaluations, so that talented employees feel rewarded for their hard work and stay motivated.

This survey was conducted online between May 29 and June 5, 2019, covering 405 job seekers who were also subscribed to the Workport website.

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