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In what might be termed an unstable and maybe even depressing time for young people looking at their future careers, a survey revealed Thursday that they maintain an unenthusiastic and rather cool attitude toward employment: Almost 30 percent of young respondents answered that if possible, they would prefer not to work for a company.

The Internet survey, conducted by advertising agency Dentsu Communication Institute Inc., asked 3,000 permanently employed male and female employees aged 18 to 29 who work three days a week or more on permanent payroll, on temporary contracts or are self-employed, about their attitudes toward work.

It also covered 1,200 employees in their 30s and 1,200 in their 40s, to compare their mindset with that of young people.

Asked to choose the closest feelings to describe their attitude toward work, 28.7 percent of the respondents aged 18 to 29 said they would not work if they had the means not to.

In contrast, a mere 17.3 percent responded they would devote their entire working life to one employer, a work style known as “lifetime employment” that long characterized employment in postwar Japan.

“As young people are living in an uncertain era when even big companies can go bankrupt, it may be difficult for them to imagine themselves in the lifetime employment context” that used to guarantee a stable life plan for Japanese workers during the period of rapid economic growth, said Makoto Ogi of Dentsu Communication Institute, who was in charge of the survey and who analyzed the results.

Some 69.3 percent of younger respondents said the purpose of work was for a stable income, while 25.4 percent said they wished to work for a purpose in life. Only 12.9 percent found they had fulfilled such an ideal.

First published in The Japan Times on Aug. 15.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “my work.”


Collect words related to companies, e.g., work, commute, salary.

New words

1) unstable: not fixed, firm or steady; e.g., “The chemical is unstable at room temperature.”

2) unenthusiastic: not excited, reluctant; e.g., “They were unenthusiastic about the training camp.”

3) payroll: a list of employees to be paid; e.g., “How many workers are on the company payroll?”

4) mindset: a way of thinking; e.g., “He doesn’t have the right mindset for this job.”

Guess the headline

Almost _0% of y_ _ _ _ people don’t want to work for a c_ _ _ _ _ _, survey finds


1) Who answered this survey?

2) How has the style of employment changed in the postwar era?

3) For most of the young respondents, what is the aim of work?

Let’s discuss the article

1) How are you finding your current job?

2) Do you think the lifetime employment system is a good thing?

3) Why do you work? Would you still like to work even if you didn’t need to?







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