PER­MA­NENT HIR­ING RIS­ING

Shift back to­wards reg­u­lar jobs may lead to pick-up of slug­gish con­sumer spend­ing

New Straits Times - - Business -

JA­PAN’S tight­est labour mar­ket in decades shows signs of re­vers­ing a long shift to­wards the hir­ing of tem­po­rary work­ers.

The num­ber of full-time work­ers is ris­ing for the first time since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, out­pac­ing growth in tem­po­rary jobs over the past two years.

“The labour short­age has be­come so bad that com­pa­nies can’t fill open­ings only with part­timers,” said Junko Sakuyama, a se­nior econ­o­mist at Dai-ichi Life Re­search In­sti­tute.

Ja­pan’s 2.8 per cent un­em­ploy­ment rate is the low­est since 1994 but most of the hir­ing over the past decade or so has been for tem­po­rary, of­ten part-time po­si­tions, known as non-reg­u­lar.

A shift back to­wards per­ma­nent hir­ing could help slug­gish con­sumer spend­ing pick up.

Non-reg­u­lar work­ers now make up more than a third of the work­force. Many work part time, and all on av­er­age re­ceive less pay, few ben­e­fits, lit­tle train­ing and no real job se­cu­rity.

It’s too early to de­clare a trend re­ver­sal, but the num­ber of reg­u­lar jobs grew by 260,000 in March from a year ago, while part-time, tem­po­rary and con­tract jobs rose by 170,000, the In­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­istry re­ported on Fri­day.

Last year, 510,000 per­ma­nent jobs and 360,000 non-reg­u­lar ones were added.

The ra­tio of non-reg­u­lar work­ers in the work­force stood at 37.5 per cent last year, the high­est on record dat­ing to 2002, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment data.

It should de­cline as more women be­come reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees in sec­tors with se­vere labour short­ages such as re­tail and el­derly care, said Sakuyama.

But the im­pact on wages and con­sumer spend­ing could be lim­ited. Those sec­tors hir­ing more reg­u­lar work­ers of­fer lower pay and suf­fer from lower pro­duc­tiv­ity, mean­ing they have nar­rower mar­gins to grant raises.

A re­turn of in­fla­tion this year will limit real wages, too.

Reg­u­lar work­ers get paid about 53 per cent more than non-reg­u­lar ones on a com­pa­ra­ble monthly ba­sis, ac­cord­ing to the labour min­istry.

But they’ve seen slower pay in­creases be­cause the unions rep­re­sent­ing them of­ten favour job se­cu­rity over ag­gres­sive bar­gain­ing. Bloomberg

PIC BLOOMBERG

A worker at a nurs­ing home in Tokyo. The ra­tio of non-reg­u­lar work­ers in the work­force in Ja­pan should de­cline as more women be­come reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees in sec­tors with se­vere labour short­ages such as re­tail and el­derly care.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.