As wages rise, Japanese women face a huge pay gap

Reuters, 15 March 2018 – Women in the third-biggest economy in the world hope that it won’t take too long to close the enormous pay gap with males as Japanese corporations announce their largest compensation rises in decades.

From the late 1990s, salaries have hardly increased due to years of deflation and stop-start growth. Women, who make around 78% of what men do, have it much worse.

The OECD average is nearly doubled, and the gender pay disparity is the worst among the Group of Seven nations.

According to academics and government authorities, the lack of job advancement is a significant contributor to the issue.

Kasumi Mizoguchi was perplexed by the gender inequality in a rigid workforce structure that classified employees as “career” or “non-career” when she joined a top trading firm in 2015 after graduating from college. The administrative job was performed by non-professional personnel, all of whom were female.

Mizoguchi was hired on the professional route, but she resigned after two years because she was dissatisfied, and she currently works at a design and advertising agency in London.

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One of the main reasons I left, according to her, was hierarchy. “You simply feel like you don’t matter, like you have nothing to say,” she added.

Reuter’s graph

Despite the fact that women make up nearly a third of full-time employees, Teikoku Databank research shows that only 9.4% of managers are female. By 2030, ten years later than originally planned, the government aims to see a 30% increase in the number of female managers.

At 13%, there are more women in senior executive roles.

There are indicators of progress. Larger corporations are required to publish their pay gap annually under transparency regulations that were adopted last year. Beginning this year, they must include more details in registration dossiers, including, in some cases, the proportion of women in managerial positions.

The government provides the data online so that job searchers can research potential companies.

The necessity of disclosure puts pressure on businesses, according to Akiko Kojima, a specialist at The Japan Research Institute. “While it makes logic, it is insufficient. The difference won’t diminish if businesses simply publish the data without increasing the proportion of female managers.”

DEDICATION graphic from Reuters

According to experts, Japan’s economy must contend with a persistent labor market shortage as its population declines.

Despite the fact that women’s participation in the labor sector has expanded recently as a result of former prime minister Shinzo Abe’s “Womenomics” initiatives, more than half of all women, according to government data, work in non-permanent positions. Such jobs typically offer fewer extra benefits, lesser pay, and fewer hours.

Women frequently return to a lower-paying or part-time job when they leave the workforce to have children.

Chika Sasaki, a wholesale manager in Tokyo, lamented the dearth of working mothers in leadership roles and in positions of authority in her workplace.

“In senior management, men predominate almost exclusively. I believe there is a pay gap between men and women because of this “Sasaki, who chose not to disclose her workplace, stated.

“I don’t believe they give a damn. I manage people, yet I don’t have any role models.”

TALENTED WOMAN graphic from Reuters

After realizing that too many bright women were having difficulty juggling their professions and families, the then-president of the brokerage Daiwa Securities Group Inc (8601.T) decided to launch a program to assist female employees.

It took steps to encourage women being rehired and increased maternity leave to three years.

13 employees were promoted to senior general manager in 2009, and four of them were women. One of them has now joined the board of directors.

Chiharu Mori, director of Daiwa’s agency for promoting diversity and inclusion, claims that the company made a deliberate choice to promote numerous women at once so that they might band together in the event that they encountered resistance from male coworkers.

We’re attempting to close all gender gaps, not just those in salary, but in every aspect of life, according to Mori.

Daiwa has required paternity leave and encouraged workers to leave the office before 7 p.m., both unusual practices in Japan.

According to Tomohiko Sano, head of Japan ESG research at JPMorgan Securities, ESG investors have up until now found it difficult to discuss the gender gap with many Japanese companies. This is because they are increasingly concerned about it.

According to him, the companies who do disclose are typically already operating well.

Investors find it challenging to persuade businesses of the advantages of these initiatives, he claimed.

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