The importance of increasing female participation in the workforce has been a persistent topic for Japan over the past few years and was back in the spotlight last month once again with International Women’s Day on March 8 and the Women 20 — an engagement group that makes recommendations to the G20 — held on March 23–24, in Tokyo.
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Efforts so far, however, have been twofold: reversing the trend of women quitting work after getting married or having children and supporting mothers to return to work. According to the latest government statistics report evaluating post-partum trends among employed women between 2010 and 2014, 53.1% of women continued working after giving birth to their first child — a steadily growing number in comparison with data from two decades ago.
Simultaneously, however, 46.9% discontinued working. Over half of all responses cited the reason for not returning to work as being “due to difficulties keeping up with work and child rearing at the same time,” with other work-related obstacles, including “insufficient support toward child-rearing by the company.” Anxieties over having to take days off too often for child-care related issues were also listed.
Over half of all responses cited the reason for not returning to work as being ‘due to difficulties keeping up with work and child rearing at the same time…’
And in a country where over 83.2% of working women take maternity leave versus the mere 5.14% of men who take paternity leave, according to the latest statistics from the ministry’s Gender Equality Bureau, it’s clear that it is women who are most affected by the current work attitudes and hiring practices.
Introducing Advisory Group
One dedicated recruiting company based in Tokyo, called Advisory Group, is tackling this serious social concern. Founder Jivago Matsuoka built the company with the mission to help overlooked talent overcome those barriers to find real jobs that make a meaningful contribution to society. “We aim to help those under-appreciated candidates, such as single mothers, working mothers, seasoned professionals aged over 50 or unemployed people,” said Matsuoka during a recent interview with Savvy Tokyo.
By helping candidates and clients change their perspectives, Advisory Group is doing its part to turn the grim situation around. Since 2015, they’ve matched hundreds of overlooked job seekers with companies in need of talent. Here’s what they do.
Changing the conversation
Advisory Group specializes in getting bilingual working and single mothers, as well as senior citizens and the unemployed back to work, either in a permanent or interim role. They work with employers across a variety of industries, from healthcare to retail to