JILPT Research Report No.176
Studies on Occupational Structure II:
Data Analysis on Present Status, Change, Requirements and Private Life Based on an Online Occupational Trends Survey with 50,000 Working People

May 29, 2015

Summary

Research Objective

When individuals think about finding or changing jobs, or when we study employment support and policies, it is necessary to gather information on the present situation of occupations and changes in them. Until now, however, it has been impossible to gather information on broad-ranging occupations directly and on a large scale from actual working people. Recently, some survey companies register millions of people for web monitoring survey, making it possible to specify occupations in detail and gather information on the present situation of those occupations and changes in them. Until now, JILPT has used this web survey method to gather information on topics involving relatively little change, such as occupational interests and values. This time, however, information was gathered on topics thought to involve a greater degree of change, and topics in which information has not previously been gathered. Specifically, we systematically gathered information on issues such as the present situation and changes in occupations, requirements, and how occupations impact private life. By combining the findings with previously gathered information, we made an attempt to grasp the situation of occupations as a whole.

Research Method

In this study, occupations were specified according to the detailed classification of occupations compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and data were gathered in such a way that there was no bias for each occupation. Information was collected from a total of 26,586 respondents in 2013 and 27,074 in 2014. Excluding those who responded in both 2013 and 2014 (1,652, 3.1% of the latter), the total for 2014 was 25,422 respondents, bringing the total for both years to 52,008. In terms of the detailed occupational classifications compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 192 occupations were represented by at least 100 respondents, 259 occupations by at least 50, and 365 occupations by at least 20 respondents.

Survey topics included quantitative changes in occupations (e.g. increases and decreases), qualitative changes in the content of occupations, the present situation of occupations, job satisfaction, requirements needed for the present occupation (including awareness and behavior), the impact of work on private life, life satisfaction, how holidays and leisure time are spent, income from the current occupation, the place of employment, and respondents’ attributes.

Major Findings

(1) Job situation in each occupation

It has often been said, from various viewpoints, that factors such as job motivation, growth through work, and human relationships in the workplace are important in connection with jobs and occupations, and that elements like this are also related to the choice of occupations as well as employee stability and turnover. Until now, however, no information on these aspects has ever been gathered broadly and systematically. In this study, therefore, we prepared questions that would broadly grasp the situation of each occupation in these aspects and gathered data.

Following statistical examination (the factor analysis) of these broadly prepared questions, they were summarized into four job-related elements, namely “Independence, exhibiting and utilizing one’s skills, sense of achievement, growth”, “Good human relationships, being useful to people and society”, “Career enhancement, pay rises”, and “Being attentive to clients and mistakes”. By job types, specialist professions scored highest in “Independence, exhibiting and utilizing one’s skills, sense of achievement, growth” and “Good human relationships, being useful to people and society” compared to other job types. However, specialist professions also scored high in “Being attentive to clients and mistakes”. In “Career enhancement, pay rises”, Researchers and engineers scored higher than other job types.

After adding the place of employment and basic attributes to these four elements, the relationship to “Wish to continue” (“I hope to remain permanently in my present occupation”) was examined by the regression analysis. As a result, a positive impact was found to arise from “Good human relationships, being useful to people and society”, “Independence, exhibiting and utilizing one’s skills, sense of achievement, growth”, “Career enhancement, pay rises” and “Annual income” in that order (standardized regression coefficients of the regression analysis). Good human relationships in the workplace and the sense that one’s work are of use to people and society are important for the motivation to remain in their occupation. The next most important is to have independence at work, to be able to exhibit and utilize one’s skills, to have a sense of achievement, and to be able to grow through one’s work. Enhancing one’s career and increasing wages by continuing to work are also important, the results showing that these are more important than the annual income being high.

The relationship with “job satisfaction” (the evaluation of satisfaction with one’s occupation on a scale of 100) was seen to be positively impacted by “Good human relationships, being useful to people and society”, “Independence, exhibiting and utilizing one’s skills, sense of achievement, growth” and “Career enhancement, pay rises”, in that order (standardized regression coefficients of the regression analysis). As with “Wish to continue”, good human relationships in the workplace and the sense that one’s work is of use to people and society have a positive impact on job satisfaction. These are followed by independence at work, being able to exhibit and utilize one’s skills, having a sense of achievement, and being able to grow through one’s work, and finally by enhancing one’s career and increasing wages by continuing to work.

(2) Quantitative changes (e.g. employee numbers) and qualitative changes in content of occupations

The world of occupations is constantly changing. In some occupations, the work may grow busier and employment may increase, while in others, jobs may cease to exist and employment may decline. Even in the same occupation, the job content could change enormously. Though the name of the occupation may remain the same, the work may become more advanced, more IT-dependent, and so on. In this study, therefore, we prepared topics enabling quantitative changes in occupations (such as the number of employees) and qualitative changes in the content of the work to be broadly ascertained and gathered data.

On changes in the content of work, a study was made on how those changes could be summarized (the factor analysis). As a result, changes were summarized into the six elements of “Sophistication” (the work becomes more advanced), “Language skills” (the need for foreign languages increases), “Performance-based ” (the work is increasingly rated by performance), “Relations with clients and others within the same industry” (relations with clients and other operators in the industry become important), “Teamwork” (teamwork becomes important), and “Mechanization, automation” (there is progressive mechanization and automation) (Fig. 1). These six have mutually independent trends, and not all occupations will change in this direction. But in terms of different job types, “Sophistication”, “Relations with clients and others in the industry” and “Teamwork” had become important in specialist professions. Among Researchers and engineers, “Sophistication” and “Language skills” were important, work was progressively “performance-based”, and “Teamwork” was important. In sales-related occupations, work was progressively “Performance-based” and “Relations with clients and others in the industry” were important.

(3) Skills and others needed for work, including awareness and behavior

Each occupation must have its own requirements for the necessary skills, etc., including awareness and behavior. Until now, however, surveys have been conducted on the necessary skills and knowledge (The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training, 2012, etc.), but the requirements in a broader sense including awareness and behavior have never been investigated. Information on the capabilities, etc. needed for each occupation is vital, both for the individual and for society. It is also possible that the requirements needed by each occupation could be changing, and therefore the necessary requirements need to be identified.

As a result of statistical study, on how the necessary skills, etc., could be condensed (the factor analysis), five mutually independent elements were extracted – namely, “Tenacity, sense of responsibility”, “Business creation, innovation”, “Verbal skills, explanation skills”, “Personal appearance, social normality”, and “Machine operation, computer skills” (Fig. 2). Scores in these five were high among high-income earners and respondents in high level positions. On changes in annual income due to career changes, meanwhile, scores in all five elements were high among those whose income had increased by 30% or more due to a career change. In other words, though these five are mutually independent, they could be seen as broadly necessary for work, and also seem related to income and job grade.

The required skills, etc., should also be different for different job types. The skills and others necessary for middle-level categories of the classification of occupations are also shown in this chapter.

(4) Impact of occupations on private life and ways of spending leisure time

Each occupation is thought to have an impact on private life. This impact must take different forms depending on the nature of the occupation, such as working at night or working irregularly. The impact of an occupation on private life is also thought to be reflected in different ways of spending leisure time. The fact that the choice of occupation impacts private life and leisure time is necessary information for young people who are thinking of finding a job and people thinking of changing career. But, this kind of information on the impact of occupations on private life and the ways of spending leisure time has never been broadly and systematically gathered from people actually employed in those occupations. In this study, therefore, questions broadly dealing with the impact on private life and ways of spending leisure time were prepared and data thus gathered.

As a result of statistical examination on how the impact on private life could be summarized (the factor analysis), this impact was summarized into the three elements of “Fatigue, anxiety”, “Irregular or night work” and “Working on holidays”. By industry sector, “Irregular or night work” was seen most conspicuously in the accommodations and transportation industries, while in terms of job types, it appeared strongly in transport and machine operation occupations.

In the relationship with life satisfaction (evaluation of satisfaction with life on a scale of 100), “Fatigue, anxiety”, “Irregular or night work” and “Working on holidays” had an adverse impact, in that order (standardized regression coefficients of the regression analysis). Life satisfaction was most significantly reduced by fatigue at work and anxiety over the impact of this on health. The results show that irregular work, night work, or working on holidays (when work remains in the mind even on days off) also cause life satisfaction to decrease.

On ways of spending leisure time, the ratios of “Spend time with one’s family”, “Trips or outings” and “Spend time with friends” were seen to differ depending on the job type. Ways of spending leisure time are thought to differ depending on the individual’s life awareness and values, etc., and this means that there are also differences depending on what occupation is chosen.

Fig. 1 Results of analysis on changes in content (Principal Component Analysis, principal component extraction, orthogonal rotation, 52,008 respondents)
Figure1

CMPT: component

Fig. 2  Results of analysis on necessary skills (Principal Component Analysis, principal component extraction, orthogonal rotation, 27,074 respondents)
Figure2

CMPT: component

Policy Implications

As seen above, this study has specifically ascertained the present situation of occupations, changes in them, etc., and has examined the relationships between these. The results should provide suggestions for policy on the present situation of occupations, how this is related to levels of satisfaction and the motivation to continue, how the world of occupations has changed, the skills needed for work (including awareness and behavior), the situation of private life, how the situation of private life is related to satisfaction, and so on.

Policy Contribution

The present situation of occupations and changes in them could be seen as fundamental information when developing policy. Although often discussed through vague images and impressions, the results of this survey, in which a large volume of information was gathered from people actually engaged in the occupations, should be available for use as justification for various policy judgments.

Main Text

Research Category

Project Research: “Survey Research on Lifelong Career Formation Support and Employment Promotion”

Subtheme: “Survey Research on Matching and Consulting to Facilitate Employment and Hiring”

Research Period

FY2012-FY2014

Author

Shinsaku MATSUMOTO
Project Researcher, the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training

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