Employees with differing needs seek supplementary employment in Japan

With encouragement from the government, two groups of employees have emerged as most likely to seek secondary jobs in Japan.
By: | September 26, 2023

High-earning employees with specialised skills and low-wage employees represent the two disparate groups of employees who are most likely to seek second jobs in Japan.

According to latest Employment Status Survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, individuals earning an annual income of 10 million yen (US$67,390) or more in their primary jobs showed a strong inclination towards second jobs in 2022, with 6.25% pursuing supplementary employment. This percentage increased even further among those earning 15 million yen (US$101,085) or more.

In contrast, low-income employees earning less than three million yen (US$20,217) annually in their primary roles also engaged in secondary employment at a rate of 6.25% in 2022, largely driven by financial constraints.

Middle-class individuals, earning between three million yen and 10 million yen annually, exhibited a lower propensity for secondary employment, with 2.82% participating in second jobs. Overall, approximately 4.61% of Japan’s workforce reported having secondary jobs.

Toshihide Iwata, an official from the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (JILPT), emphasised that high-paid employees often leverage their professional expertise in secondary roles. Iwata also noted that among low-income employees, some have no choice but to take on multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet.

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While the Japanese government encourages secondary jobs to address the country’s labour shortage, many organisations remain hesitant to permit such arrangements due to concerns like potential information leaks and excess workloads. According to the JILPT, 38.4% of employees without secondary jobs reported employer restrictions on outside work.

The survey also revealed that middle-income employees are less enthusiastic about secondary jobs, citing demanding work hours as a deterrent to additional employment opportunities, reported Kyodo News.