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why it's difficult to get a job in japan after 30
Why It's Difficult to Get a Job in Japan After 30
posted by John Spacey, Japan Talk, August 25, 2012
Q: I heard it's almost impossible to get a job after age 40 in Japan. Is this true?Yes, there is some truth to this. Age discrimination is common in the Japanese job market. This starts as early as age 30.
In Japan, you're expected to have a great number of professional connections by age 30 — people you've met throughout your career who will hire you. Without this network it can be difficult for older workers to find employment. Avenues such as recruiting agencies openly discriminate against older workers.
Lifetime EmploymentIn Japan, companies tend to prefer recruits with no experience.
Traditionally, Japan has a system of lifetime employment — you start working for a company out of university and you stay with that company for life. Under this system, companies seldom hire anyone experienced.
When the company requires a particular skill, they train their employees. Employees change positions internally every few years.
Lifetime Employment and AgeismUnder the Japanese system of lifetime employment workers commonly stay with the same company for 35 years. These employees have little chance of ever being fired or laid off.
This has led to several persistent negative stereotypes about older workers. These include that older workers are complacent, too expensive, inflexible and autocratic.
Job Ads in JapanIn Japan it's common for job advertisements to specify an age range for a position. Job applications may ask your age and require a current photo.
Nightlife and Age DiscriminationIn Japan, your professional network is your social safety net — they're the people who will hire you after a certain age.
Japan's business nightlife is geared towards cementing relationships that are essential to career mobility past 30.
Women vs MenIt's well known that women in Japan face a greater degree of age discrimination. For women, age discrimination begins to set in around age 30, for men it sets in around age 35.
As with men, women must rely on their professional connections to find employment as they age.
Age Discrimination and PovertyAge discrimination is the number one cause of poverty in Japan.
Age Discrimination and The Breakdown of Japan's Lifetime Employment SystemIn recent years, Japanese companies have shifted from full time employees to short term contractors.
Temporary staff are most likely to face age discrimination — they also may find it difficult to build a professional network as a safety net.
Getting a Job Past 30There are exceptions to every rule — even in Japan. People do find employment at a late age.
Foreign companies operating in Japan are a good option for older workers. Some foreign companies have Japanese style management others retain a European or American style.
Many Japanese companies are also warming up to older workers. Things need to change — Japan faces a labor shortage in the coming decades as the population ages.
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