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Hays Japan diversity survey reveals management-female employee perception disparity

65% of female respondents in Japan unsure management understand diversity, yet 70% of hiring managers claim a corporate diversity program

65% of female respondents to a recent survey by Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan KK ("Hays Japan") said that their management does not understand or they are unsure that they understand diversity, while 70% of hiring managers claimed that they have a diversity program in place.

In addition, 63% of female respondents said that management is not taking steps to nurture a diverse workforce, yet 69% of hiring managers claimed that they are proactively assessing both male and female candidates in their recruitment process. At the same time, 67% of hiring managers acknowledged that less than 20% of their management are female, and 66% said that they do not have processes in place to encourage women to rise to management positions.

Looking to external support mechanisms, 72% of female respondents also said that they do not believe that government legislation on discrimination in Japan encourages women to consider balancing a career and a family.

In addressing the aging and shrinking population in Japan, Hays actively encourages employers to tap the breadth of the local talent pool, particularly looking to utilise the skills of sectors of the population underrepresented in the workforce to date. Hays’ placements demonstrate its leadership with regards to promoting diversity - for the 1 July to 31 December 2011 period, a full 78% of Hays’ candidates were in the 30 to 50 age range, and 40% were female.

Japan-based Hays Operations Director, Asia, Christine Wright said, “The results of our survey clearly show the disjoint between what support employers think they need to offer female employees, and what those employees actually want.

“Nevertheless, Hays recent placements in Japan display both a social shift towards growing acceptance of mid-career job change in Japan, and a trend to more fully incorporate women in the workforce. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recently announced that it will visit tens of thousands of companies across Japan by fiscal 2015 to ask them to employ more women and promote them to managerial posts.

“We actively encourage this progress, and stress that embracing diversity offers a significant opportunity for Japan, in addressing its competition and macro challenges.”

Christine presented the findings of Hays’ diversity survey at Hays’ 17 May Diversity Seminar, which also incorporated presentations by Nana Oishi (PhD Associate Professor of Sociology, Sophia University), Terue Suzuki (Senior Manager Cloud Services, NTT Communications) and Yukako Uchinaga (Board Chair of J-Win; Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, Berlitz Corporation; Director and Executive Vice President, Benesse Holdings, Inc.).

Hays’ diversity survey canvassed over 1,000 hiring/line managers and female candidates from 23 April to 7 May who Hays placed or who were actively looking for a new role in the last two months of 2011.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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Other findings from Hays’s female candidate diversity survey:

  • 53% of respondents were non-management, 35% middle management, and 12% senior management.
  • 46% changed jobs in the past five years to advance their career.
  • Of the remaining 54%, 82% planned to move jobs in the next year. The primary reason for the planned move is to achieve career advancement (49%), followed by work/life balance (19%) and a salary increase (16%).
  • 65% have felt disadvantaged as a woman, against male counterparts.
  • Of these, the main areas in which they felt disadvantaged were: career advancement (75%), leadership opportunities (40%), salary and benefits (35%), team acceptance (19%) and training and development (12%);
  • 21% said that they are satisfied with the career path available to women at their company. 39% said they are not, and the remaining 40% are not even aware a career path is available.
  • 40% said top executives and managers at their company do not understand diversity. 25% said they are unsure whether or not they understand diversity.
  • When asked if their company is taking steps to create a diverse workforce, 37% answered yes and 63% said no. Of those who said yes, the primary methods of creating a diverse workforce are: women equally represented in leadership positions (71%), women nurtured for leadership roles (54%), clear maternity leave policy (38%), flexible working hours (25%) and women are supported and encouraged to reach career goals (13%);
  • 72% do not believe government legislation on discrimination in Japan encourages women to consider balancing a career and family.
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