Japan Data

Starting Salaries for University Grads at All-Time High


Amid a growing labor shortage in Japan, the average starting salary for university graduates rose to a record high in 2017, marking the fourth consecutive year-on-year increase.

The average starting monthly salary for university graduates in Japan rose year-on-year by ¥2,700, or 1.3%, to ¥206,100, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare’s Basic Survey on Wage Structure. This is a new record and the fourth consecutive year-on-year increase. The rise in starting salaries reflects a broadening trend among companies to increase pay to secure needed human resources against the backdrop of the labor shortage that has arisen from Japan’s falling birthrate and aging population.

The salary increase was particularly noticeable at large corporations employing 1,000 or more workers, where the average starting salary rose 2.0% year-on-year, to ¥211,000. At medium-size firms, employing 100–999 workers, the average was ¥202,500, a 0.7% year-on-year increase. The average starting salary was ¥199,000 at smaller companies that employ 10–99 workers, an increase of 0.3% over the previous year.

Back in 2007, the average starting salary for male university graduates was ¥7,400 higher than that of their female counterparts. And by the following year, men’s average starting salary reached the level of ¥200,000. It was only eight years later, in 2016, that women’s average starting salary also rose to that same level. In 2017, the average for women increased year-on-year by ¥4,100 or 2.1%, to ¥204,100; while that of men rose by ¥1,900, or 0.9%, to ¥207,800. This ¥3,700 difference between the average starting salary of men and of women is just half of what it was 10 years ago.

For high-school graduates entering the job market, the average starting salary in 2017 rose year-on-year by 0.5% to ¥162,100. The gender gap for these workers also shrank slightly, as the average for men rose 0.4% year-on-year, to ¥164,200, while that of women rose 0.8% to ¥158,000.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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