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In Japan, a Scramble for New Workers Disrupts Traditional Hiring

Original Content Publication Date: 12/26/2018

Summary

Japanese companies, who until now have had the social tradition of hiring new University students every April at equal pay, are beginning to break from tradition as competition for workers grows in Japan’s shrinking labor pool. Companies are shifting towards a more flexible, merit-based employment system by hiring employees with coveted tech skills months earlier and paying them more than other new recruits. Some believe this new system could upset Japan's long-standing social order.

Key Points

  • The new employment system is welcomed by the government and central bank, who have been pushing for a more flexible labor market that would boost wages
  • Some people worry that the abandonment of the traditional hiring system will cause disparity among workers and cause uneven distribution of work and loss of motivation for workers who feel left behind
  • Individuals hired outside of the traditional hiring habits report that they feel more valued by the company and have more motivation to work hard

Discussion Questions

  1. What long-term effects could the shift in hiring behavior have on the overall distribution of worker motivation and performance?
  2. How could the new employment system affect Japan's long-standing social order and the economy overall?
  3. What affects would similar hiring behavior and changes have on an economy like the US's?

REFERENCE

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