Management Positions Lose Their Appeal to Japanese EmployeesWork Economy Society
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.
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.”
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%).
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.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)