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カテゴリーのアイコン Work Life in Japan
Women in Managerial Positions in Japan
Feb 09, 2024
3 min read
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How many Women are Managers in Japan?

In October of 2022, NHK conducted a survey towards companies with over 10 employees about their female employees. Out of the responses of 3,000 companies, it was found that only 12.7% of managers in Japan were women.

Compared to 13 years ago, there's only been a 2.5% increase!

Looking closer, smaller companies with between 10-30 employees have more female managers, at around 21.3%. By contrast, larger companies with over 5,000 employees have fewer, at around 8.2%. Most female managers work in healthcare (53%), followed by services (24.6%), and manufacturing (8.2%), and utilities (4.1%).

Compared to Other Countries...

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan has the lowest percentage of female managers among G7 nations.

To compare, let’s take a look at other countries with the highest percentage of women in high-ranking roles.

  • Philippines: 53%
  • Sweden: 43%
  • America: 41.4%
  • Australia: 40%
  • Singapore: 38.1%
  • France: 37.8%
  • UK: 36.5%
  • Germany: 29.2%
  • Italy: 28.6%
  • Malaysia: 24.9%
  • Korea: 16.3%

Japan’s Response to the Gap

Japan wants to increase female executives and aims to have at least one female executive in a "Prime Market'' company (in the Tokyo Stock Exchange) by 2025, and achieve a 30% ratio of female managers by 2030.

Currently, companies with 301 or more employees must share their information on gender wage gaps. The government is considering expanding the scope to companies with 101 or more employees. This is intended to encourage more companies to appoint women as managers.

Credit: bongkarngraphic/@Canva.com

What is Causing the Discrepancy?

Many factors contribute to the shortage of female managers, like childcare responsibilities. This can negatively impact women’s confidence and career progression. Companies are trying to help by providing mentorship and flexible work options.

Some companies set their own goals for increasing the number of female managers. For example, Aflac Life Insurance wants to reach 30% next year. They are working toward this goal by reforming work styles and promoting gender diversity.

Addressing the Female Shortages

In another example, the Co-op Deli Consumer Cooperative Federation in Saitama City faced challenges with keeping female workers for over 3 years, despite hiring many. In response, they began a project a few years ago, setting clear, new goals and offering support.

Jinmi Uemura from the Human Resources Department of the Co-op Deli Consumer Cooperative Federation stated,

"Having a clear numerical goal has significantly contributed to everyone recognizing it as a challenge and actively working towards it. By having individuals with various experiences, such as parenting and managerial positions, we believe there will be a synergistic effect. We want to continue creating opportunities for interaction throughout the organization and provide support."

The Future of Female Managers in Japan

The future of female managers in Japan remains hopeful, but unclear. Japan is different from other G7 countries in some cultural ways that were not included in the NHK survey.

Still, Japan can start by working on more immediate issues, such as women having to do most of the housework, and other gender biases. Setting specific goals for companies can also be a good way to see if things are getting better for women in managerial jobs.

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