June 30, 2009 / 9:11 AM / 10 years ago

Anxious Japan new hires opt for overtime over dates

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Most newly hired Japanese would opt for overtime rather than a date, a survey showed, reflecting growing anxiety about employment in the country’s recession-hit economy.

Japan’s jobless rate rose to 5.2 percent, the highest since September 2003, data released on Tuesday showed, while the jobs-to-applicants ratio slid to 0.44, meaning only about four jobs were available for every nine applicants. That ratio was the lowest since the data started in 1963.

A survey by the Japan Productivity Center, a private think tank, showed that more than 80 per cent of newly recruited employees would choose overtime over a date.

“The financial and economic recession and fears of corporate restructuring and bankruptcy are motivating new employees to prioritize work over private life,” Tetsu Takano, an official at the think tank told Reuters.

The trend was more pronounced among women, of whom 88 percent favored overtime over romance, compared to 78 percent for men.

Eighty-four per cent of respondents agreed with the statement “the era of lifetime employment is over. I cannot depend on my company,” and 46 percent expressed worry about future lay-offs.

The survey covered about 3,200 new recruits, of which 40 percent work for large corporations with more than 5,000 employees.

Reporting by Yumi Otagaki, editing by Miral Fahmy

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