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Japanese employment: engaging for greater equality

Japan is renowned for its strong dedication to work and the country has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Yet working hours are lengthy, there are two classes of employees and women are an underutilised force in the workplace.

Women have long been underrepresented in the Japanese labour force, a phenomenon that has been exacerbated by the entrenched dualism between regular and non-regular works. The coronavirus pandemic could further cement this trend, as many of the lost jobs are either part-time or temporary roles – ones which women make up a disproportionate share of.

While Japan’s legislature has set targets for hiring and promoting female employees, progress has been slow and the targets often too modest. Failing to take advantage of the country’s female population has a clear opportunity cost, and we believe that Japanese companies should take a more courageous approach to hiring and investing in female talent.

While there is a need for progress across the board, some of the Japanese companies in our SDG Engagement Equity Fund have taken steps to improve their hiring practices. Going forward, we intend to focus on this agenda with these firms.

To find out more about some of the measures our Japanese holdings have taken, read the full report. 

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