Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Abenomics and Aging Equals Health-Care Jobs for Women in Japan

They are still way behind in leadership positions

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.


(For more news and economic analysis, see Benchmark.)
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