The average annual income for women in Japan stands at around 30% below their male equivalents — which is a powerful statistic.
Although women have reached a largely equal footing with men in terms of legal rights, there remains a strong unspoken discrimination towards women in the workplace.
Women are largely expected to perform lower grade tasks and to leave employment upon marriage or the birth of children. Although there has been a slight shift in this trend over recent years, the changes are negligible. This issue is hotly debated within Japan with more pressure being brought to bear on employers to improve the situation but change has been slow.
Western women working in Japan will probably only encounter difficulties when trying to manage Japanese male colleagues – especially if they are older. Otherwise they will be accepted as an honorary man.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
Japan – a decades old paradox. Ultimately modern; completely traditional.
It has perplexed observers for decades as to how Japan can be so advanced in terms of technology and infrastructure whilst at the same time being wedded to traditional cultural approaches to all things corporate. Japanese companies are at the same time innovative and disruptive whilst retaining strong alignment to traditional hierarchical structures, risk aversion and detail obsession. How does Japan retain its position in the global economic league tables when it seems to stubbornly refuses to move with the latest corporate thinking?
The question continues to be asked as to whether it is really possible to do business in Japan as a foreign entity or are things so weighted against foreign entrants that it really isn’t worth the effort. The answer has to be a resounding ‘yes’ as many companies have entered the Japanese market and had great success. However, many companies have also failed to crack the Japanese market.
So what is the key to doing business in Japan in a successful and sustainable manner? At Global Business Culture we strongly believe that understanding Japanese business culture is the key to success. How can Japan be innovative and traditional? The answer is ‘culture’. How can Japanese companies retain strong alignment to hierarchy and remain efficient? The answer is ‘culture’.
Looking at Japanese business culture is not a ‘nice to do’ it’s a definite ‘need to do’. Take the time to really understand the key drivers of your Japanese colleagues, clients and other stakeholder and you will find the benefits obvious and immediate.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Japanese business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on: