Vol.36-No.01 January 1,1997
The survey on the realities of industrial relations at foreign-capital companies has been conducted nearly once every 4 years since 1973. Last year's survey, taken in August 1995, covered about 2,000 companies including Japanese corporations capitalized at over one-third by foreign companies, Japanese branches as well as offices of foreign companies, with 732 responding.
What do foreign-capital companies think about HRM ? On the issue of lifetime employment, the proportion of companies replying "Do not adhere to lifetime employment" represented 51.6 percent of the total. On what they stress in hiring and personnel treatment, the percentage of companies that stressed "the ability to perform" represented 44.9 percent. Regarding organizational management, 59.4 percent answered to "clarify which portion of the work individuals are allotted" so as to facilitate the skill-based pay system. On wages, 56.7 percent said they "take into considerable account employee skills," and 54.4 percent referred to the merit-rating system as a fundamental of HRM, far surpassing the 1.5 percent which referred to the "seniority-based system" and the 28.6 percent which "combined the skill-based system with the seniority-based one."
What kind of HRM do foreign-capital companies implement ? 40.2 percent of the companies responding have adopted "a self-appraisal system" and 20.7 percent have implemented "a double-track system" under which employees are treated differently depending on their job categories. Looking at Japanese companies for comparison, a Ministry of Labour survey on employment management for 1997 showed that 15.9 percent of Japanese companies implemented a "self-appraisal system" and only 11.5 percent adopted a "double-track system".
What will be their future policy for hiring employees? "Will put emphasis on mid-career hiring" answered 41.9 percent and 25.4 percent replied they "will combine the hiring of new graduates with that of mid-career individuals," going beyond the 4.9 percent which "will mainly take new graduates." This makes a striking contrast with the many Japanese companies which normally hire the bulk of their employees from new graduates in April.
The percentage of part-time workers in the total workforce in major industries stood at 14.9 percent, up 3.6 points from the figure recorded 5 years ago, according to a survey released by the Ministry of Labour. The general survey on the real state of part-time workers for 1995, conducted in October 1995, covered about 13,000 establishments employing 5 and more regular workers (86.1% replying) and about 30,000 part-timers excluding regular employees with the above mentioned establishments (86.1% replying). The previous survey was taken in 1990.
The survey also found that non-regular workers such as dispatched workers were 7.98 million, of whom 6.69 million were part-time workers. The percentage of companies which have adopted a system under which employees can switch their employment status from part-time to regular full-time, posted 42 percent and that of those which apply rules of employment to part-timers stood at 66 percent. Furthermore, 29 percent of the companies implemented a periodical wage increase for part-time workers, 31 percent implemented pay raises based on seniority and 56 percent offered semiannual bonus payments to them, down 5-10 points, respectively, from the figure recorded in the 1990 survey. Part-timers clocked an average 5.6 scheduled hours daily, the same hours recorded in the previous survey. They received an average hourly wage of ¥856, up from the preceding survey's hourly wage of ¥705. Under the current tax system, part-timers enjoy the privilege of minimum non-taxable income (currently up to ¥1.03 million as of 1995) and are exempted from income tax if they receive a smaller than the level of ¥1.03 million. In addition, spouses of part-timers benefit from the special deduction offered for themselves.
The survey also asked about what steps part-timers will take when their annual income is likely to top the minimum non-taxable ¥1.03 million, 31.6 percent said they will "adjust their working hours", up from the figure of 26.4 percent in the previous survey and 27.8 percent replied they will "work regardless of the situation," up from 24.2 percent recorded in the 1990 survey. Those who answered their annual income "will not top the minimum non-taxable income" represented 18.6 percent, down from the previous figure of 27.3 percent.
When their annual income exceeds the minimum non-taxable income, part-timers face a decrease in total take-home income for their household. But now, unless their annual income tops ¥1.41 million, their spouses can benefit from the special deduction offered for them, thus slightly mitigating a turnabout although the phenomenon still remains when taking account of corporate family subsidy payments.
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