Japan Data

Survey Reveals Japanese Attitudes Toward Work


A global survey on attitudes to work found that 8% of Japanese people never wanted to retire, compared with 1.5% of respondents worldwide. Even so, the results showed relatively less sense of purpose and prioritization of their personal needs among Japanese workers.

In October 2022, an online survey on attitudes to work called Workmonitor 2023 was conducted by Dutch company Randstad in 34 countries and regions in Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas, with 35,000 responses received from individuals who included sole proprietors and job seekers. In Japan, 1,000 people took part in the survey, with roughly equal numbers of men and women.

More than half of the respondents worldwide wanted to retire by the age of 60 if possible, but this figure was only 23.8% in Japan. Conversely, 1.5% of the respondents worldwide and 8% in Japan expressed the desire to remain in employment throughout their lives. These results highlight Japanese attitudes to work.

Desired Age of Retirement

The results show that 12.9% of the respondents in Japan and 8.4% worldwide said they would like to retire as soon as possible. However, more than half of the 129 Japanese people who gave this answer were in the age group from 18 to 34, whereas only 10.3% of those aged 45 to 54 expressed that desire and just 3.5% of those aged 55 to 67.

A Sense of Purpose

The norm in Japan is to want to work as long as one is healthy and to be self-sufficient, but at the same time, Japanese people have fewer expectations of their jobs being fulfilling, as reflected in such survey responses relating to the importance of work to a person’s life and the need for it to bring a sense of purpose.

Japan and the Rest of the World: Main Survey Results

Employment and Workplace

Japan Worldwide
I am worried about losing my job 35% 37%
I feel confident that if I were to lose my job, I could find a new one quickly 51% 50%
My job provides flexibility in terms of work hours 55% 57%

Purpose and Belonging

Japan Worldwide
Importance of work in your life 48% 72%
My job gives me a sense of purpose 38% 57%
I would quit a job if I didn’t feel like I belonged there 23% 54%

Attitude and Work/Life Balance

Japan Worldwide
I have “quietly quit” a job (only doing the bare minimum work) 11% 31%
I wouldn’t accept a job if I thought it would negatively affect my work-life balance 48% 61%
I have quit a job because it didn’t fit in with my personal life 17% 33%

Created by Nippon.com based on data from Randstad.

The table above compares the responses in Japan and worldwide to the main questions in the survey. There is no noticeable difference in the responses about fear of losing one’s job and workplace rules.

However, when asked about a sense of purpose and belonging at work, the results suggest that many people in Japan are working with a sense of indifference or (even worse) because they feel there is no other choice. For several years after World War II many employees in Japanese companies had a sense of belonging to their organizations, but the current survey results show that this feeling is a thing of the past.

In terms of work-life balance and the combination of personal and professional life, the results also show that Japanese people are less likely to prioritize their own needs compared to the rest of the world.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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