/

Big companies aim at diversifying workforce

Major firms may hire more female grads

JIJI

Forty-nine of 100 major firms are considering hiring more female graduates in spring 2015 than the levels planned for this year, according to a Jiji Press survey.

The potential boost is likely the result of the efforts of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has made increasing the female workforce a major component of his growth strategy compiled in June 2013, the third and final “arrow” in his “Abenomics” economic policy package.

Of the 51 big firms that did not say they are mulling an increase, 30 said they are not mulling such an eventuality for spring 2015, while 21 did not answer or said they have yet to set hiring plans.

The most popular reason for hiring more female graduates was to “secure diversity” in the workforce. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was among the companies that fell into this category.

“It is necessary to add more viewpoints from women in order to meet the diversifying customer needs,” Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said.

SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. said that utilizing female employees is essential to the future of the company.

Of the 49 firms that plan to increase female hiring, 19 said they will have percentage targets.

Of the 16 that disclosed their targets, McDonald’s Co. (Japan) presented the highest figure, at 60 percent or more. “Putting a lot of women in managerial posts is important to enhance the strength of our organization and continue our growth,” the firm said.

Among the 30 companies not planning to take on more women in 2015 are Fast Retailing Co., whose female hiring ratio already stands above 50 percent for this spring, and All Nippon Airways, which traditionally employs a lot of women.

If these firms are included, a majority of the 100 major companies can be viewed as very active in hiring female graduates.

Hiring more women is “drawing attention again” as the job market for spring 2015 is seen turning favorable to job searchers, said Hitomi Okazaki, editor-in-chief of Rikunabi, a job information website in the Recruit Holdings Co. group. “More companies are expected to set female hiring percentage targets,” she said.

Base pay likely to rise

An increasing number of major companies are poised to propose implementing base salary hikes as this year’s “shunto” wage negotiations enter the final stretch.

Many companies, including automakers and electronics makers, are scheduled to present their wage proposals to labor Wednesday.

The expected pay scale hikes will come as the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on firms to raise wages to reflect their improving earnings.

On Monday, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and other major steel makers proposed raising the monthly salary by ¥2,000 per employee to labor unions in their negotiations on pay levels for fiscal 2014 and 2015.

The Japan Federation of Basic Industry Workers Unions, including unions at steel makers, has demanded a hike of ¥3,500.

Among automakers, Nissan Motor Co. plans to fully meet its labor union’s demand for a base wage hike of ¥3,500 per month and bonuses equivalent to 5.6 months of salary for fiscal 2014.

Industry leader Toyota Motor Corp. plans to implement a ¥2,700 pay scale increase per month, against ¥4,000 sought by the labor side. Including regular hikes, Toyota employees will see their monthly pay rise by ¥10,000. The automaker will offer bonuses equivalent to 6.8 months of salary by fully meeting labor demand.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp., whose earnings have been recovering from a slump caused by its defect coverup to avoid vehicle recalls, will offer a pay scale hike for the first time in 14 years.

Ten major electronics makers, including Hitachi Ltd. and Panasonic Corp., are expected to propose a ¥2,000 base salary hike, the biggest increase since 1998, compared with ¥4,000 demanded by labor. The labor side is expected to accept the offer.

“The management side hopes to help create a virtuous economic cycle in Japan,” said an executive in charge of labor issues at one of the 10 companies.

Annual bonuses are expected to surpass the levels in fiscal 2013 at many of the electronics makers, sources said.

  • Ron NJ

    The real story here: 51% of firms are so backwards that they’re *not* considering hiring more female graduates, in a nation where females are already so incredibly underrepresented and even a right-wing PM is calling for better integration of women! What’s even sadder, is that this number is considered “a boost” according to the article! Then you get down to the company responses, and it’s all about making money and expanding the business (an admirable goal, I guess) and not at all to do with social justice or ensuring that roughly half of the population isn’t marginalized based on their sex, nor even putting forward the idea that maybe women are just as capable of doing the same jobs as men and perhaps deserve more than their current (very disadvantaged) places in the business world here.

    Just more shame to throw on the pile for Japan in terms of gender inequality when you read between the lines here.