Japan business association advocates taking on of secondary jobs

The Japan Federation of Employers' Associations says taking on secondary employment can result in a more productive workforce.
By: | October 12, 2021

A new report by the country’s largest business lobby, commonly known as Keidanren, said that increasing flexibility to allow people to take on different, additional work can address labour shortages in the country and dissatisfaction with the country’s rigid corporate culture and, in turn, result in a happier and more productive workforce.

Although only 22% of about 500 companies in Japan polled last year allow staff to take on second jobs, the report indicates a larger take-up of the arrangement could lead to people staying for a longer period in the workforce.

In addition, such flexibility could, to some extent, boost Japan’s shrinking labour force by giving workers new skills to potentially use in a post-retirement career, the report said.

The report focuses on workers who do not need to take on a second job just for financial reasons. Instead, it looks at people who are dissatisfied and want a change.

Keidanren said that although there are obstacles that must be overcome for Japan’s work culture to evolve, including the issue of companies banning secondary jobs due to the difficulty in managing employees’ total work hours and potentially losing proprietary information, the benefits could outweigh such potential issues.

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Benefits include potentially spurring innovation when employees acquire new insights outside of their companies.

For companies not ready to allow their employees to take on second jobs, Keidanren proposed the option of “in-house side jobs” such as letting employees work in other departments of their companies, according to Kyodo.