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How an ageing & overworked workforce makes hiring difficult

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Earlier this year, Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida said the country is facing an urgent risk. A low birth rate and aging population could spell disaster.

As Kishida well knows, Japan has the world’s second oldest population, with almost one third of the country aged over 65. This poses some obvious challenges for the workforce. A steep fall in the labor force is projected over the next 20-30 years if something doesn’t change.

So what does this all mean for recruitment?

Raising the retirement age

Undermining the efforts to keep people in the workforce for longer, many Japanese companies require staff to retire at age 60, with the option to continue working at reduced pay.

To address this, the government has raised the retirement age of civil servants and expect that many private companies will follow suit. As of April 2023, the retirement age was raised from 60 to 61 and will be gradually increase by one year every two years until it reaches 65 by 2031.

In 2021, for the first time ever more than half the population aged between 65 to 69 was in employment, revealing a trend towards later retirement.

Work until they drop?

While keeping people in the workforce for longer will help with skills shortages, it does pose the question on whether work culture needs to change. Job quality matters greatly to the wellbeing and health of older workers. Excessive work hours, demanding work ethics, low autonomy could be a deterrent to older workers to stay in employment. Edit status

Flexible options, part-time hours or remote work could make staying in the workforce longer a more viable option. Especially for those caring for elderly parents or grandchildren.

If your organization is hoping to keep senior workers for longer, here are some things you might like to consider:

  • Promoting better working conditions and flexible arrangements
  • Training opportunities to lessen the technology skills gap
  • Encourage mentoring and knowledge sharing

Place more emphasis on skills than age

In a highly respectful culture like Japan, age is important. Elders are treated with respect, and managerial positions are often given to the older “wiser” employees. This can be a barrier for young people eager for extra responsibility.

Remaining open to younger and older candidates equally is especially important considering Japan’s aging population and the talent shortage. There are some signs that “seniorism” is declining. According to a survey we conducted, more than 70% of respondents believed that Japanese companies will change hiring practices and appoint the best candidate, regardless of age.

For help finding your ideal candidate (regardless of age!), book a discovery call with Morunda. On average we find 4 qualified candidates for our clients within 4 weeks.

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