Employees in Japan opt for work-life balance over promotions

Rising responsibilities and worries about increased workloads are deterring employees in Japan, particularly women, from seeking management roles.
By: | February 27, 2023

Employees in Japan have shifted their priorities from aspiring to be managers in favour of seeking a better work-life balance. Rather than aiming for promotions, more employees are prioritising moderate workloads that allow them to lead fulfilling personal lives.

Most of the respondents (72%) to a recent survey revealed that they do not have any desire to hold a management position, while only 8% expressed interest in advancing to managerial positions. Respondents cited a lack of interest in advancement (50.9%), concerns over added responsibilities (50%), and increased workloads (42.6%) as the main reasons for their reluctance to pursue management roles.

Many employees who participated in the survey also voiced their apprehension about the challenges that come with management positions, including leading and training subordinates (49.3%), heavy responsibilities (39.3%), and communication with subordinates (36.7%). Respondents also expressed concerns about being caught between supervisors and subordinates (34%).

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The nationwide survey of 300 employees in their 20s to 50s working in organisations in Japan, conducted by Tokyo-based management and organisational consulting firm Shikigaku, also found that only 4% of women want to become managers.

54.7% of survey respondents believed that making it easier for women to balance work with childcare or nursing care would be the most effective measure to increase the number of female managers. Additionally, 50% of respondents suggested that personnel evaluations should not disadvantage women, while 43.3% of respondents recommended systems for maternity leave and remote work.