According to a recent article from Time.com, Japan is in desperate need of more workers. Their economy has been declining, and so have their birthrates – faster than most developed countries. However, they have an untapped resource of potential workers:
Japanese women constitute nearly half (48%) of university graduates. Yet this tranche of talent is woefully underutilized: Only 67% of college-educated women are currently employed, and many of them either languish in low-paid, part-time jobs or are shunted into dead-end “office-lady” roles serving tea for male managers and dusting their desks at the end of the day.
New data from the Center for Work-Life Policy finds that Japanese women with college degrees are much more likely than Americans (74% versus 31%) to quit their jobs voluntarily. But while childcare is the primary reason that most Western women take a career break, highly educated Japanese women are more likely to say that they’re pushed off the career track by unsupportive work environments and managers who do not value them. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say that they quit because their career was not satisfying and a startling 49% left because they felt stymied and stalled.
Not only do Japanese women face watching their sometimes less-qualified male counterparts promoted over them just because they are men, but they are finding that the breakneck pace of the work they do have doesn’t mesh well with their breakneck duties at home.
It seems like work-life balance is something that women the world over struggle with, but it’s even worse when policies are not in place to ensure that sexism doesn’t prevent qualified women who work hard from getting ahead. In this case, if Japanese women were better utilized in the workforce, the economy wouldn’t be in such trouble. As it stands, though, women in Japan are seeing their best option as working with a foreign country. Believe it or not, they feel that working for a European or United States based company is a better situation, because they have better policies to protect working women.
Image of Tokyo Stock Exchange, credit: Wikipedia.org.