As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revitalization project nears the four-year mark, one of the most notable trends in the Japanese job market is the increase in women in the health and welfare sector.
There are more than half a million extra female workers in this area now than there were at the beginning of 2013, as the aging population increases demand and Abe calls for women to take a greater role in the workforce.
There’s been less movement in the top-five sectors for male employment, and in some cases there has been a decline, reflecting baby-boomers retiring in droves.
There has also been a notable rise in full-time employment for women, though the strongest increase has been in part-time and contract work.
There is still a long way to go, and Japan needs a much higher female participation rate to help offset the steady decline in the nation’s working-age population.
Efforts to get women into senior roles have gained little traction. The government initially embraced a target of placing women in 30 percent of management positions in all fields by 2020. It’s now talking about just 7 percent for the level section-chief and above in the national bureaucracy and 10 percent for a similar level in private industry.