BizReach Inc., a Tokyo-based job search company, introduced a career change website for women as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe encourages companies to boost female leadership.
BizReach Woman targets female workers seeking managerial positions and plans to post jobs at companies supporting the advancement of women such as Rakuten Inc., Sony Corp. and General Electric Co., according to Chief Executive Officer Soichiro “Swimmy” Minami.
The former Morgan Stanley banker, who organized what he called Japan’s first “pink slip party” in the wake of the global financial crisis five years ago, is turning to women after female membership surged at his executive classified website. Abe has encouraged the nation’s publicly traded companies to have at least one female executive and has set a goal of women holding 30 percent of leadership positions in all areas of society by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics.
“Giving choices to talented women who aim for leadership positions in the Japanese economy is the best thing we can offer,” Minami said in an interview before a news conference in Tokyo yesterday to introduce the website. “My vision is to bring the wall down between men and women.”
The new website has so far attracted corporate clients representing 1,900 businesses seeking women to fill managerial positions in the 5 million yen ($49,000) range, according to Minami.
The World Economic Forum ranked Japan 105th out of 136 nations in its 2013 Global Gender Gap Report, which measures differences between men and women by economic advancement, education and other areas. Iceland ranked at the top, followed by Finland and Norway.
Japan, facing a shrinking and aging population, needs to empower women in the workforce to ensure the country’s economic revival, Abe has said. The prime minister has called increasing women’s participation a “vital component” of his growth strategy, and plans call for eliminating waiting lists for childcare and training mothers returning to work.
Closing the gender employment gap could boost Japan’s gross domestic product by as much as 13 percent, according to the latest “Womenomics” report by Kathy Matsui, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief Japan strategist.