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Japan – Women hit glass ceiling in Japanese companies

25 September 2012

Gender inequalities are more prevalent in Japanese firms than in foreign firms operating in the country, according to a new survey by recruiter Robert Walters Japan.

This has shown that 700 professionals believe it is more difficult for women to secure career developments and the same pay rates as their male counterparts.

Participants were asked what level of seniority women can reach before hitting a glass ceiling stopping them from advancing their careers.

The contrast was striking between foreign and local firms with nearly half saying no glass ceiling existed in foreign firms while 28% believe women can be promoted up to a C-suite position in non-Japanese companies.

But only 18% believe there is no glass ceiling in Japanese firms with around a third saying that the highest position a woman can achieve is the managerial level.

Gender inequalities also become apparent when it comes to pay as 60% of female respondents feel that in a foreign company, men and women receive similar salary, while 18% believe women receive less than men at the same level of seniority.

In a Japanese company, only 9% believe they receive similar salaries to men, while 68% of women feel they will be paid less.

Male professionals taking the survey generally felt that gender differences are less prevalent compared to female respondents.

“Perceptions on gender inequality can affect a worker’s decision on the type of companies they will consider when changing jobs. With women representing a larger proportion of skilled, bilingual labour in the Japanese workforce, these sentiments may influence a Japanese or foreign company’s ability to hire the talent needed for globalisation,” said Ryosuke Oyama, Associate Director of the Japanese Business Division. 

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