Japan Data

2018 Sees Record Number of Japanese Employees Working on the Side


A growing number of Japanese workers are supplementing their main income.

The number of Japanese doing extra work on the side rose in 2018 by 100,000 people to a record 7.4 million. This is a climb of 2.1 million compared with three years ago.

The estimate comes from a February survey targeting over 3,000 people across Japan by the Tokyo-based crowdsourcing company Lancers, which collects information on freelancer subcontracting positions.

Historically, working on the side has been rare in Japan, such that many in the country are surprised by how common it is overseas. Lancers projects that the number of people working in this capacity in Japan will continue to grow.

Broken down by field, the largest number of people supplementing their main income were engaged in writing or data entry, which can be performed at home with a stable Internet connection, at 1.7 million people, followed by those running a business at 1.4 million.

The Japanese government is boosting policies that will spur on company employees to earn supplementary income, asserting that it will allow for more varied forms of employment. However, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and other business leaders have taken a more cautious position regarding these initiatives, pointing out risks in such areas as corporate confidentiality if this type of employment continues to grow.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Prime Minister Abe Shinzō (center) listening to participants of the work style reform event held on October 19, 2016, at the Prime Minister’s office. © Jiji.)

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