Cross Currents Home
Resources | About Us | 日本語サイト
Home Learn About Japan Learn About Japan-U.S. Cross Currents Learn About the U.S.

Two men in suits walking in a crosswalk.
  1. Group Employment Trips
  2. Spring Employment Season
  3. Hiring New Graduates
  4. Hiring New High School Graduates
  5. The Japanese Employment System
  6. Lifetime Employment
  7. The Seniority Wage System (nenkō joretsu)
  8. The Bonus System
  9. Enterprise Unions in Japan
  10. Enterprise Union Cooperation
  11. Unemployment Insurance
  12. Dual Tracks in Female Occupations: Ippan Shoku (Non-Career Track) and Sōgō Shoku (Career Track)
  13. Increase of Female Employees
  14. Female dominant occupations
  15. Post-Retirement Employment and Social Security
  16. Marriage Retirement and Retirement Ages for Men and Women
  17. Relations between Large and Small Companies
  18. Part-time Female Workers
  19. What Kinds of Work Do People Do in Japan?
  20. Freeter/ Furita: Part-Time Workers in Japan
Listen in English English | Japanese Japanese View Article in English | Japanese
A close-up of a hand fan that contains Japanese writing on it.
A hand fan that reads "Seniority by length of service."
Photo from Fudemojiya.
The Seniority Wage System (nenkō joretsu)
The seniority-based wage system (nenkō joretsu) has gone hand in hand with lifetime employment. Companies maintain very broad employment categories or ranks, rather than paying employees for the particular jobs they perform. Employees begin with a standard basic wage, and receive an increase in pay for each year of service. An employee who leaves to join another company would start from a lower end of that company’s wage scale and his or her income could be lower than other employees' of the same age in the same company. The seniority-based wage system keeps workers from changing jobs, since after a few years of employment they enjoy a wage level that they could not match if they moved to another company.The seniority-based wage system underpays young workers, but rewards them well in later years, even if their productivity declines. It offers workers a strong incentive to remain with their first employer.An early retirement age also supports the seniority wage system, normally forcing employees to retire from their regular positions at age 55 to 62. After formal retirement they may be rehired by the same firm under short-term contracts, or may take other temporary employment until they are truly ready to retire several years later.
Special Terms: contract

Download Podcast in English | Japanese
Document | Audio-Video | Chart | Picture | Map