Job Changes Rising among People in Their 40s, 50s in Japan

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — More and more people in their 40s to 50s are switching jobs in Japan, a trend defying the well-known theory that 35 is the ceiling in terms of age to making a career change.

This trend comes as short-staffed companies are racing to hire workers who can immediately step in to fill managerial or engineering posts. The COVID-19 pandemic has also created an opportunity for middle-aged corporate employees to rethink their life.

A 51-year-old man, currently working at a manufacturer in the Chubu central region, switched jobs for the first time in his career last year.

While he initially had no intention to change jobs, he was repeatedly approached by Tokyo-based recruitment firm Professional Bank Inc.

The man said he changed his mind after he became frustrated with his old company’s personnel assignment. “If I hadn’t been approached [with another job offer], the option of a job change would have never crossed my mind,” he said.

Professional Bank has strength in its capability to find candidates fitting the description of workers sought by client companies from among people not thinking of switching jobs.

“As companies are now fighting over human resources amid an economic recovery from the pandemic, they have started to recruit people from a wider age range,” said Takamichi Takamoto, managing director at Professional Bank.

“Many companies don’t have age restrictions when hiring people for specialist jobs such as accounting and human resources management,” Takamoto said.

Demand for recruitment services among people wanting to change jobs is also growing.

A woman in her 40s, who currently works at a major retailer, said that she had a disagreement over working conditions with a previous company she worked for, when she switched jobs without the involvement of a job recruitment agency. The clash was due to insufficient negotiations before she joined the firm.

Due to this past experience, she got her current job using a recruitment service.

“By consulting a job recruitment firm, people can see their strengthens objectively, which opens up their career-switch options,” said Kaoru Fujii, an official at Recruit Co. who has expert knowledge of the job transfer market. “Some people also find new ways of working at their current companies,” he added.

People aged 45 or older accounted for around 40% of the total number of people changing jobs in 2021, up from around 31% in 2012, according to a labor force survey by the government.

A survey conducted by Recruit last year found that around half of people in their 40s and around 40% of those in their 50s said that they were considering switching jobs.