Forty percent of university freshmen say they would become “freeters,” or part-time workers, to achieve their dreams, while nearly half of their parents don’t like the idea, according to a survey released Tuesday.
Toyo University in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, surveyed 2,801 of its roughly 7,400 freshmen and 1,525 of their parents.
The term freeter is a Japanese coinage from the English “free” and German “arbeiter,” meaning worker.
Forty percent of the freshmen said being a freeter was “acceptable if it is necessary to realize one’s dreams,” followed by 34 percent who responded that it “cannot be helped if I can never find a regular job because of the tough labor market.”
Only 16 percent of the students said they did not want to become freeters “under any circumstances.”
In contrast, 47 percent of the parents were opposed to their children becoming freeters under any circumstances. Twenty-six percent said it was acceptable in a tough labor market and 23 percent said it was OK if that was how they could achieve their dreams.
On questions about the three most important things to look for in a job, 22 percent of the parents chose “a stable organization with lifetime employment and seniority-based promotion.”
The ratio of students who chose company stability was slightly higher, at 30 percent.
However, the Toyo University official in charge of the survey said some of the students said they responded favorably to the idea of becoming freeters because that choice in the survey stated that temporary work would help them to achieve their dreams.
“We hope the students think about what they need to do during the next four years in order to realize their dreams,” the official said.
The Cabinet Office estimates that more than 4 million people aged 15 to 34 — excluding students and married women — work as freeters.
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