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Reforming the Labour Market in Japan to Cope with Increasing Dualism and Population Ageing

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  • Randall S. Jones
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    Abstract

    The proportion of non-regular workers has risen to one-third of total employment. While non-regular employment provides flexibility and cost reductions for firms, it also creates equity and efficiency concerns. A comprehensive approach that includes relaxing the high degree of employment protection for regular workers and expanding the coverage of non-regular workers by the social security system would help to reverse dualism. Given that non-regular workers receive less firm-based training, it is also necessary to expand training outside of firms to support Japan’s growth potential, while enhancing the employment prospects of non-regular workers. Reversing the upward trend in non-regular employment may also encourage greater female labour force participation, which is essential given rapid population ageing that is already reducing Japan’s working-age population by almost 1% each year. Expanding childcare facilities and paying more attention to work-life balance would also boost female employment, while also raising Japan’s exceptionally low birth rate. Réformer le marché du travail au Japon pour faire face à un dualisme grandissant et au vieillissement démographique Les travailleurs non réguliers représentent désormais un tiers de l'ensemble des salariés. Or, s'il réduit les coûts de la flexibilité pour les entreprises, l'emploi non régulier suscite aussi des préoccupations sur le plan de l'efficience et de l'équité. Une approche globale, avec un assouplissement de la forte protection de l'emploi dont bénéficient les travailleurs réguliers et une extension de la couverture sociale des travailleurs non réguliers, aiderait à mettre fin au dualisme du marché du travail. Les travailleurs non réguliers ayant un accès plus limité que les autres à la formation en entreprise, il faudrait aussi développer la formation hors poste pour améliorer leurs perspectives d'emploi et renforcer ainsi le potentiel de croissance du Japon. Inverser la tendance à la hausse de l'emploi non régulier pourrait encourager une plus une plus forte participation des femmes à la vie active, ce qui est essentiel dans un pays où le vieillissement démographique a déjà pour effet de réduire la population d'âge actif de près de 1 % chaque année. De même, le développement des services de garde d'enfants et un plus grand souci de l'équilibre entre travail et vie familiale contribueraient à stimuler l'activité féminine, tout en relevant le taux de natalité exceptionnellement bas du Japon.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/230264641407
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 652.

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    Date of creation: 01 Dec 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:652-en

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    Keywords: Japan; old workers; dualism; female employment; labour force participation rates; vocational training; labour market adjustments; fertility; part-time workers; work-life balance; employment protection; non-regular workers; taux d'activité; travailleurs à temps partiel; activité des femmes; taux de fécondité; équilibre entre travail et vie familiale; marché du travail; formation professionnelle; travailleurs âgés; protection de l'emploi; travailleurs non réguliers; dualisme; Japon;

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