Japan: Number of job hoppers drop in market hit by pandemic

The number of workers changing jobs has seen a 6.8% drop in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.
By: | December 29, 2020

In the past five years, the number of people changing jobs rose 20% to 3.51 million in 2019. This trend was broken by the pandemic as the first nine months of 2020 saw a drop of 6.8% in this number compared to that in the same period in 2019. 

The pandemic has impacted sectors differently – the food services and retail sector saw high numbers of job losses, while growing sectors like high-tech and finance were more resilient.  

The infocomms and financial sectors had ratios of job offers to job seekers of 4.89 and 1.75, respectively – indicating an appetite for growing sectors to hire, while that ratio for openings for food services and retail was 0.49 – meaning the number of openings was half the number of people looking for such jobs. 

Though the statistics show that in the IT industry, a total of 740,000 people entered the workforce between April and October – only 4% of them came from hotels and food services or lifestyle and leisure providers. This is due to the different skill sets which have prevented people from entering sectors where there is demand for labour.  

The pillar of Japan’s labour policy has been the employment adjustment subsidy, which covers part of the wages that companies pay workers who are put on leave in bad times. The government has introduced extraordinary policy measures to support businesses, so the unemployment rate is only about 3%. 

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However, the cost of the subsidy has exceeded 2.4 trillion yen (US$23 billion) so far, making it difficult for the government to secure the necessary appropriations. The subsidy also distorts adjustments in the labour market, said Nikkei Asia.