Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

More Japanese firms are raising wages to combat labour shortage - Reuters poll

Economic Indicators Aug 17, 2022 11:30PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians wearing protective masks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, make their way during commuting hour at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, January 7, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo 2/2
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) - More large Japanese companies are now raising wages to attract workers and cope with chronic staff shortages, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Thursday, a tentative sign Japan Inc may be slowly addressing pay that has been flat for decades.

Still, the Corporate Survey found that higher wages aren't yet the go-to tactic for companies, with digitalisation seen as the most popular among the multiple measures firms say they are using to address the labour crunch.

Japanese companies have typically avoided boosting wages because decades of deflation made it difficult to pass on higher costs to consumers. That might now be changing, as the double whammy of higher commodities prices and a weaker yen drive up living costs, and highlight the strain on workers. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also called on companies to hike wages.

"Overall we are facing labour shortages and we are struggling to lure part-timers at stores in particular. We are responding by raising wages but there's a limit," the manager of a wholesaler wrote in the survey, on condition of anonymity.

The poll of 495 big non-financial firms, taken Aug. 2-12, highlighted what appeared to be a growing willingness by companies to increase wages. The hiking of wages or starting salaries was picked by 44% of respondents as one of the multiple tactics they were adopting.

That compared to just 25% of companies that said in a 2017 Corporate Survey that they would increase salaries.

A full 59% picked going digital and other measures to save manpower as one of their tactics.

"The tide is changing as labour shortages have prompted more and more companies to raise wages albeit gradually," said Koya Miyamae, a senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

"Now is just the beginning, as the population increasingly ages and dwindles, the momentum to hike wages will gather steam," he said.

A majority of companies, 54%, said they faced a labour crunch with the shortage most pronounced among non-manufacturers, 59% of which said they were squeezed for staffing.

"We have not been able to do anything" to secure workers, said another manager at a wholesaler.

Companies also called for a better working environment, including year-round hiring and delaying retirement to encourage the elderly to work until their later years.


The dwindling pool of workers has been a concern for years in the world's No. 3 economy, and has served as a cautionary tale for other advanced economies including in Europe. Policymakers, meanwhile, have stopped short of allowing widespread immigration.

A total of 19% of firms said they were securing foreign workers, compared to 13% in the 2017 survey.

Separately, three-fourths of companies said they wanted Kishida's government to deploy another round of big stimulus to help the economy cope with rising living costs.

A total of 44% of firms said they wanted to see fresh fiscal stimulus, the most popular choice. Only one in five said they wanted to see further monetary stimulus, highlighting the dwindling support for the Bank of Japan's massive easing programme.

The survey results came as gross domestic product (GDP) to June saw a third straight quarter of expansion, but analysts say the resurgence of the coronavirus and a slowdown in the U.S. and Chinese economies cloud the outlook.

In the survey, a vast majority of Japanese firms saw the virus's resurgence posing a downside risk to the economy in the latter half of this fiscal year to March 2023.

The poll, conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research, canvassed 495 large non-financial Japanese firms, half of which replied during the Aug. 2-12 period. Managers usually reply on condition of anonymity, allowing them to express opinions more freely.

($1 = 133.3900 yen)

More Japanese firms are raising wages to combat labour shortage - Reuters poll

Related Articles

S&P 500 renews slide, hits near two-year low
S&P 500 renews slide, hits near two-year low By Reuters - Sep 27, 2022 7

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 fell to its lowest level in almost two years on Tuesday on worries about super aggressive Federal Reserve policy tightening, trading under its old...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email