Hardworking housewives, it seems, are Japan’s hottest commodity.
Companies in service-based industries are going all out in trying to recruit them, according to Quartz.
FamilyMart, a chain of convenience stores, plans to hire 100,000 housewives for part-time jobs in the next two years.
“Supporting hardworking housewives!” proclaims the jobs page of Pronto, a chain of restaurants and cafes.
And a new slogan by McDonald’s that translates roughly to “McDonald’s, no problem” promises housewives flexible hours and growth opportunities. The burger chain is even offering housewives trial work periods, during which they can determine if they’re interested in flipping burgers and scooping fries. “Housewives are a valued labor force because they are very hospitable and are very conscious of cleanliness in our restaurants,” said a McDonald’s HR exec.
The clamor for such workers makes sense, considering Japan’s labor market is tighter than it’s been in 40 years, due to an aging population and a lack of foreign workers. And employers’ appeal to housewives reflects a years-long effort by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to increase the number of women in Japan’s workforce. But at the same time, the nature of the jobs being advertised—part-time, hourly work—underscores the problem that’s tainted the top-line success of Abe’s plan: Women are still being sidelined to low-paying, irregular positions.
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