Japanese Firms Doubt Achieving 30% Female Executives by 2030, Reuters Poll Reveals

By: GWL Team | Thursday, 20 July 2023

According to a thorough Reuters survey of Japanese businesses, the vast majority of corporations doubt if the prime minister's goal of having at least 30% of executive posts filled by women by 2030 would be achieved. The report demonstrates the substantial difficulty Japan confronts in closing the gender gap in its business environment.

Only 2.2% of women held executive positions in the top Japanese corporations as of July 2022. The survey findings depict a bleak picture despite the most recent endeavour seeking to increase this number. Sixty percent of company managers voiced scepticism about reaching the 30% goal, with 29% saying it would be completely impractical.

The results of the poll demonstrate Japan's poor progress in encouraging gender diversity in the workforce, which in turn limits its potential for economic growth. In the World Economic Forum's annual study on gender parity, Japan came in a dismal 125th place out of 146 nations this year. The nation is now ranked 118th, down from 116th the year before, falling below countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in gender equality rankings.

The highly established male-oriented mentality that endures despite attempts to modify is one of the biggest barriers to gender equality in Japan's business culture. Despite the presence of young women in jobs with the opportunity for promotion, outdated recruiting practises that tended to assign general office tasks to women have had a lasting influence.

The survey's respondents highlighted their concerns about the short deadline set for reaching the 30 percent goal and described it as being very difficult. However, more than half of the organisations that participated in the survey reported that they had either employed or planned to hire female managers from outside. Additionally, 45 percent of businesses are putting into place or planning to put into place measures to help female employees have a better work-life balance.

Other nations have taken bigger steps to support women in business. For instance, the FTSE 100 index of the United Kingdom reveals that women hold approximately 40% of board posts, a huge rise from 12.5 percent a decade earlier. In comparison, just 14.5 percent of board positions at Japanese Nikkei 225 businesses were held by women in 2022.

The general business climate in Japan has also experienced difficulties, with 74% of corporate managers opining that things were "not so good" or "bad" at the end of October. Additionally, this year, 60% of businesses plan to raise prices.

Around 500 big and mid-size non-financial organisations participated in the Nikkei Research survey for Reuters, of which 250 responded to the questions about female executive roles.