Business / Corporate

Japan's Mizuho bank to allow employees to take side jobs by next March

Kyodo, JIJI

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. plans to change its personnel policy to allow employees to hold side jobs by the end of next March, the first such move by a mega-bank.

By helping employees seek new challenges and opportunities, Mizuho hopes they will use the experience and ideas they acquire outside of the group to create new financial services at Mizuho, President Tatsufumi Sakai said in a recent interview.

“I want everyone to refine their skills through a diverse range of challenges so that they can all be specialists in their fields,” he said.

The 59-year-old chief executive hopes new job opportunities will encourage employees to make use of their experiences in startups, manufacturing companies and other industries to create new business ideas for Mizuho.

The initiative is expected to be introduced in the second half of fiscal 2019, after rules on labor and information management are worked out.

Although employees are currently prohibited from holding other jobs, such activities will be permitted as long as employees abide by rules on confidentiality and company approval, Sakai said.

Mizuho has already started allowing an employee to work at a major manufacturing company once a week on a trial basis, he said.

The government is trying to prompt more companies to allow side jobs as part of labor reform to help address Japan’s worker shortage.

SoftBank Corp. and baby and child care product maker Unicharm Corp., among other companies, have recently introduced personnel programs to allow employees to take side jobs.

Sakai said the aim at Mizuho is allowing employees to break free from the inward-looking nature of in-house competition and acquire skills that can be used inside and outside the group.

“If young people work at innovative companies and come back after learning cutting-edge and novel ideas, it would lead to better business for Mizuho,” he said.

On the risk of employees leaving Mizuho for other companies, he said “it’d be fine if they don’t come back” as this would still create more outside connections for the group.

The Mizuho group is seeking to accelerate its transition to providing next-generation financial services under a new five-year business plan.

Under the strategy, Mizuho Bank, a core unit of the group, started in May offering loan services to small companies, in addition to individuals, using artificial intelligence to screen loan applications.

The bank has teamed up with local banks to create a smartphone-based payment service while preparing to establish a new bank with messaging app provider Line Corp.

“We will provide services, including those outside of the field of finance, to meet demands in the era of 100-year lives,” Sakai said on the topic of digitization for an aging society.