Organisations in Japan prioritise reskilling

Shifting to job-based employment helps firms identify desired skills and provides employees with opportunities for career advancements.
By: | April 10, 2023

As organisations in Japan shift from membership-type employment to job-based employment, they are increasingly emphasising the importance of reskilling employees.  

Membership-type employment entails employees staying with an organisation until retirement and being trained in specific job skills, whereas job-based employment outlines the job expectations and required skills. Moving towards a job-based system benefits organisations by identifying required skills and employees by providing opportunities for career advancement through skills acquisition.  

For instance, Fujitsu and Hitachi have been promoting reskilling efforts for their employees, with the former allowing voluntary skills development and creating career planning opportunities, providing smartphone courses, and implementing a candidacy system for managerial appointments based on skills. The latter’s plan involves AI selecting appropriate training programmes based on employee interests, and they have lifted the ban on side jobs and expanded transfer request options.  

READ: Japan faces shortfall of employees to meet labour demand by 2040

Despite these efforts, a survey by job information provider Mynavi showed that only about 10% of 800 full-time employees saw their salaries increase because of their reskilling efforts. Yasuo Ogita, Editor-in-Chief of Mynavi’s career change website, suggested that organisations need to actively disclose information on how they evaluate employees for wage increases and promotion.  

While the government aims to enhance labour mobility by supporting organisations that encourage their employees to re-learn, employees are increasingly concerned that they may be fired amid the move. In March 2022, Fujitsu offered buyout packages to some 3,000 employees as part of an effort to promote employee turnover. Tomoko Yoshino, President of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo, the umbrella organisation of labour unions in the country, warned against such a move saying labour turnover should be based on a voluntary effort, reported The Japan Times.