Japan women’s average wage hits record high

Despite this, the gender wage gap between men and women remains significant, with last year’s average wage for women being about 45% lower than men’s.
By: | October 3, 2022

The average annual wage of female private-sector workers in Japan in 2021 exceeded 3 million yen (US$20,720) for the first time ever, according to a recent National Tax Agency survey. However, the gender wage gap remained large, with last year’s average wage for women, at 3.02 million yen (US$20,858), about 45% less than that for men.   

The average wage of all private-sector workers rose 2.4% from 2020 to 4.43 million yen (US$30,596), up for the first time in three years. The average wage for men stood at 5.45 million yen (US$37,641), the highest since 2002 but still below the record 5.77 million yen (US$39,851) logged in 1997.

Regular employees, excluding corporate executives, were paid 5.08 million yen (US$35,086) on average, while non-regular employees’ average wage stood at 1.98 million yen (US$13,675). Non-regular workers’ annual pay has been rising thanks to climbing minimum wages, pay hikes reflecting labour shortages and the spreading principle of equal pay for equal work, but it has yet to reach 2 million yen (US$13,813).

One major factor for the increase is that the performances of companies hit hard by the pandemic have been recovering to some extent, which is reflected in their employees’ pay, according to the survey.

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In addition, the survey showed that the average bonus increased for the first time in two years in 2021. It was 670,000 yen (US$4,627), up 3.1% from the previous year. Average bonuses notably rose among industries severely hit by the pandemic. The amount increased by 14.2% in the hotel or restaurant industry and 13.1% in the service industry.