In the survey of 121 major corporations conducted by Sankei Shimbun from the end of July through the beginning of August, almost 40% of companies (excluding “no answer”) reported they have a labor shortage. Some 60% said they are concerned about the shortage having a negative impact on the economy due to missed business opportunities caused by the lack of personnel.
Some 4% of companies reported a “labor shortage across the board” while 32% said they had a “shortage in some areas.” Some 63% said that they had “neither a shortage nor an oversupply of labor,” and only 1% said they had an “oversupply of labor.”
The main cause of the labor shortage was the increase in work with the expansion of the economy. Japan’s effective ratio of job openings to applicants was 1.51 in June, the highest since February 1974 after the period of high economic growth ended. The survey found that the labor shortage spanned a wide range of industries.
Asked about the impact of the labor shortage on the economy, a total of 64% said that it is having a “negative impact.” A construction company said that “the shortage leads to delays in the receipt of orders and production activities,” while a materials company said that “the increase in personnel costs is putting pressure on profits.”
Other companies, however, took a forward-looking view, with some 12% responding that the labor shortage is having a “partially positive impact.” An insurance company reported that “the increased upward pressure on wages has spurred a rise in corporate productivity.” A food company said that “consumption has expanded with wage hikes.”
Asked what measures they are taking to counter the labor shortage, a marked number of companies said that they are putting more energy into recruiting and are actively hiring foreigners. A notable number of companies reported that they are investing in labor savings. A machinery company said that it is “raising productivity by introducing robots and artificial intelligence.”