Japanese Workers-Most on fixed contracts get below 2 million yen, (US$26,000) annually: survey

Seventy-four percent of fixed-contract workers such as part-time and temporary employees earned less than 2 million yen a year, according to a recent survey, up 16.7 percentage points from the last survey in 2009, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Sept. 14.

Of those fixed contract workers who performed the same jobs as permanent employees, 60.3 percent made less than 2 million yen, up sharply from 40.7 percent, reflecting the aggravated labor market.

The ministry polled firms in all but the disaster-stricken prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima by mail and fixed-employment contract workers via the Internet in July and received responses from 5,777 businesses and 5,415 workers. The ministry reported the findings to a sub-panel meeting of the Labor Policy Council, an advisory body to the minister.

The ministry raised the ratio of short-term, part-time workers in the new survey to 23.6 percent from 14.1 percent in the last survey to better reflect the real employment situation, and that was one reason the share of those contract workers with an annual income of less than 2 million jumped so much.

While 60.3 percent of fixed contract workers doing the same jobs and shouldering the same responsibilities as permanent employees settle for an annual income of below 2 million yen, 43.5 percent of contract workers utilizing more advanced skills than permanent employees also earned less than 2 million yen annually, up from 32.1 percent.

The survey also found that 76.5 percent of contract workers engaged in the same type of jobs also made less than 2 million a year, up from 62.0 percent.

By type of employment, contract workers accounted for 47.2 percent, up from 38.6 percent in the previous survey, and temporary workers totaled 56.7 percent, up from 45.7 percent.

Asked to cite up to three reasons for becoming fixed-contract workers, 43.6 percent of contract employees and 43.1 percent of fixed-term workers said they could not find regular jobs.

According to the latest survey, 79.7 percent of firms that employed fixed-term laborers say they cannot operate without them, up from 53.8 percent in the last survey.


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