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Over half of seniors in Japan who wish to be in work are unemployed

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Japan’s ageing workforce faces challenges in employment

More than half of Japan’s population aged between 60 and 74 years old has experienced prolonged unemployment despite their desire to work, as the country grapples with a shortage of labour. A recent survey conducted by Recruit Co. and reported by Kyodo News sheds light on this issue. The study, which involved 6,000 individuals and 600 companies surveyed online in February and March of this year, unveiled that 37.7% of elderly respondents expressed a strong interest in securing employment, a trend that has been on the rise since 2016.

In contrast, 32.0% stated their lack of interest in pursuing work opportunities, while 30.3% held a mixed view on the matter. Among those who had sought jobs over the past five years, 53.7% expressed a strong desire to work, but unfortunately, were unable to find suitable employment at the time of the survey. Within this group, 24.0% were still actively seeking job opportunities, 21.8% had abandoned their job search after encountering unsuccessful attempts, and 7.9% had recently embarked on the journey of seeking employment.

The study further disclosed that 11.5% had successfully secured employment, and 34.8% had opted not to actively search for work. When it comes to companies’ attitudes toward hiring older individuals, a significant 66.5% of respondents conveyed a lack of enthusiasm for employing them as full-time staff members.

Among the companies surveyed, the prevailing explanation for this reluctance was a neutral “no particular reason” response at 30.3%. The second most frequent rationale, cited by 29.6%, was that these companies deemed their current workforce sufficient. Additionally, 23.8% of respondents expressed concerns about the health and physical strength of older employees as a deterrent to hiring them.


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