Japan Data

Management Positions Lose Their Appeal to Japanese Employees

Work Economy Society

Many workers in Japan show no interest in rising to management positions, due to concerns about increased responsibility and workload.

The era when most company employees dreamed of rising up to a management position seems to have come to an end. Instead, an increasing number of people are seeking a good work-life balance in which workloads are moderate so that they can lead fulfilling personal lives.

A nationwide survey of 300 company employees in their twenties to fifties, conducted by the Tokyo-based management and organizational consulting firm Shikigaku, found that 72.0% of the respondents did not want to hold a management position, as compared to the 8.0% with firm management ambitions. Among women in particular, only 4.0% of those surveyed were definitely interested in becoming managers.

Do you want to become a manager?

The most common reason given for not wanting to become a manager was a lack of interest in advancement (50.9%), followed by concerns about added responsibility (50.0%) and increased workloads (42.6%). Some of the specific reasons mentioned by the respondents included the idea that a promotion “would mainly just increase responsibilities without bringing many benefits” and the observation that “working more than 80 hours of overtime a month would ruin my personal life as well as my physical health, because I’ve seen many supervisors wear themselves out from overwork.”

Reasons for Not Wanting a Management Position

The most common difficulty associated with a management position was the task of leading and training subordinates, mentioned by 49.3% of those surveyed, followed by the problems of heavy responsibilities (39.3%), communication with subordinates (36.7%), and being caught between supervisors and subordinates (34.0%).

Problems Associated with Management Positions

Compared to other countries, Japan has relatively few women in management positions, leading the government to set a policy goal of fostering women’s careers. In response to the survey question regarding what needs to be done to increase the number of female managers, 54.7% pointed to the need to make it easier for women to balance work with childcare or nursing care, followed by 50.0% who said that personnel evaluations should not disadvantage women and 43.3% who mentioned systems for maternity leave and remote work.

What is needed to increase the number of female managers?

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

employment management