NRI Papers
No. 214 March 1, 2017
  Changes in Elderly Employment and New Roles of "Silver" Human Resources Centers  
Ippei HOSHI, Shinichiro YAMAGUCHI and Nobuaki TAKADA

With the arrival of a super-aging society, Japan has seen a growing number of active, healthy seniors who have an abundance of experience. Compared to the U.S. and European countries, Japan has a particularly high employment rate of elderly people. Even so, efforts must be made to create age-friendly working environments with the aim of realizing a "society where all citizens are dynamically engaged."

According to a questionnaire-based survey conducted by NRI Social Information System many English-language publications have rules prohibiting the splitting of names at the end of a line. Services, Ltd., more than half of the respondents in the 65 - 69 age group and about one-third of those in the 70 - 74 age group still want to work. In reality, however, they are not always able to do so. Especially among those aged 65 years or older, many expressed the wish to have "temporary or short-term work offered through Silver Human Resources Centers, etc." or work as "volunteers."

Founded on the principles of "autonomy, independence, cooperation and mutual assistance," Silver Human Resources Centers are membership-based organizations providing elderly persons including retirees with "temporary, short-term or other light work." At the same time, the centers support the realization of healthy and fulfilling lives through volunteering and other opportunities to participate in society, thus contributing to improvements in the welfare and revitalization of communities.

Most of the work offered by Silver Human Resources Centers is quite undemanding (light work), such as pruning plants, cleaning and managing bicycle parking areas. For this reason, the centers have faced difficulties in providing jobs needed by retirees who were white-collar workers. To meet increasingly diverse needs, the centers have started to take new initiatives; examples include offering jobs in the retail industry such as convenience stores and supplying farm labor in rural areas.

In line with those efforts, the Japanese government has eased regulatory requirements. With an amendment to the relevant law, members of the centers are now allowed to work up to 40 hours per week (provided that certain requirements are satisfied) in jobs offered through the worker dispatch and fee-charging job-placement services. In the future, activities that draw on the abilities of the elderly will expand on a nationwide scale in areas such as nursing care and child care where labor shortages are serious problems. In addition, communities could get help from their local seniors in solving the problems facing the communities.

The future will see an even greater need to develop age-friendly employment environments and conditions, to create industries that make the most of the abilities of the elderly and to create businesses where older people can find meaning through participation.

I High Labor Force Participation Rate of the Elderly in Japan
II Change of Work Perceptions and Behaviors of the Elderly
III Diversifying Employment Needs of the Elderly and New Roles of Silver Human Resources Centers
IV Initiatives to Promote Elderly Employment in the Future


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