Workers with No Work, Rise of the ‘Corporate NEET’ in Japan

Young worker on his way to work in Tokyo

The phenomenon of NEET in Japan has been a persistent social problem for the younger generations. The acronym refers to young people who are not in education and training [NEET], most of whom are supported by their parents since Japanese unemployment benefit can only be received for a maximum of six months.

Now, a new term — ‘corporate NEET’ — has appeared, which refers to younger workers who are in employment but who have very little content to their jobs. Most are paid to simply show up, with many spending the entire day surfing the internet and pretending to work. Furthermore, the companies in which they are employed provide no further education or training for these employees; therefore, they simply sit at their desks. The problem of ‘corporate NEET’ is said to be linked to the recession, with over-employment becoming a problem for many Japanese companies.

The article below, posted on a recruitment website for young workers, describes this new phenomenon and the causes behind it. Netizen reactions to the increasing numbers of ‘corporate NEETs’ are also translated below.

From web R25:

Rapid Rise in ‘Corporate NEET’ in Their Twenties

They go to work but there is no work to be done. The number of such ‘corporate NEETs’ is increasing in recent years. According to the research done by the Cabinet Office, until September of this year 8.5% of the employed population (465 million) are ‘preserved workers'; in other words, they are ‘corporate NEETs’. ‘Preserved workers’ refers to the difference between the actual number of workers and the ideal number of workers. What this tells us is that companies are employing too many workers.

During the years 2005 to 2007, the number of ‘preserved workers’ was close to zero. The numbers rose during the economic stagnation following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

‘Even if a company recognizes they are over-employed, under the employment law it is not easy to fire a worker. Such situation is one cause of the increase in the number of corporate NEET,’ explains the CEO of Jinseido, Yamamoto Kouji. In Japan there are strict conditions for dismissing a worker for restructuring, and in the end companies are forced to over-employ.

Cartoon depicting the corporate neet in Japan

A cartoon depicting corporate NEET in Japan. The speech bubbles from left to right read: ‘I’m making a copy!'; ‘I’m making a call!'; ‘At least I’m here!’.

Moreover, since last year another reason can be noted to be the cause of the increase in ‘corporate NEETs’. What is most worrying, is that it is the young workers still in their 20s are transforming into ‘company NEET’.

‘Unlike in the past, now many work places no longer have the luxury of investing in the training of their workers. Even motivated young workers find themselves deserted. They do not obtain the skills their job would require, and therefore are not given work to do. Naturally they become ‘corporate NEETs”.

The editing team of R25 (a free magazine targeting workers in their 20s) surveyed 100 workers in their 20-30s asking if they thought there were any ‘corporate NEETs’ in their workplace. The result: 29% answered ‘yes’. When asked if they knew someone who would be considered a corporate NEET, 45% answered ‘yes’. When questioned as to what corporate NEETs do at work, the distressing answer was ‘sleeping and surfing the net’. We must understand that many of these workers are simply left on their own, without proper training. However, just complaining about the situation gets them nowhere. If they don’t want to be ‘corporate NEETs’, they should at least have the desire to learn from their seniors, and steal their techniques!

Comments from Itai News:

ターキッシュバン(新疆ウイグル自治区):

What is this heaven?

サイベリアン(関東・甲信越):

Fire the incapable corporate managers. It’s a matter of them being unable to use their workers.

ギコ(千葉県):

It is actually not something to envy.
Come in the morning and watch porn —-write up a simple report by noon
Read 2ch forums and write comments until it is time to go home

ペルシャ(京都府):

I am in my 30s and am definitely a corporate NEET. For me to be more efficient in my work actually means finishing in the morning. It’s tough to kill time, there is so much you can do on the net.

ノルウェージャンフォレストキャット (埼玉県):

I am amazing, 40 and a corporate NEET w And no one tells me what to do. w

ジャングルキャット(福岡県):

They can’t fire people like them, so when they’re restructuring, companies ask for people who’ll take redundancy. Then it’s the ones with talent who take the early retirement and move on to other companies (including Korean companies). And in the end we lose the people we wanted and we are left with scum. (this is where I am now)

ツシマヤマネコ(大阪府):

But, if you give corporate NEET a task to do because they look like they have the time, you end up regretting it.. such a dilemma. The busier you are the less time you have for them.

ツシマヤマネコ(大阪府):

Corporate NEET have this mysterious ability to turn even the simplest task into a failure. If you ask them to help you out it just causes more work.

アメリカンボブテイル(東京都):

This is me. You never know when you are going to get fired, it’s quite stressful..

キジ白(空):

Getting paid for doing nothing, if such a job exists I would love to go for it.

白黒(東京都):

Even if a person was motivated, my company takes that motivation away. It’s not that the new employees become NEET, it’s that the ones managing the tasks become more efficient, and they take less and less time to get the work done. It’s the inefficient ones who work extra hours, 1/5th of them transform into NEETs and leave work as soon as possible. I think this would be common in traditional companies.

しぃ(新疆ウイグル自治区):

It is quite hard to pretend to be doing something

Posted by   :

There are those that die from overworking, and there are those who surf the net and get a pay check and social insurance. There are those who cannot afford to pay pension and insurance, and there are those who live on social welfare.

Posted by   :

Not having to work but getting paid, that is like heaven. To complain about that is a problem only lucky people can have.

Posted by 名無しさん:

Getting paid to do nothing… to be exact we are not allowed to do anything.
You can surf the net, read, and there is no work to be done. Time just passes by..

Posted by   :

A vicious downward spiral. You do not give them work so they become incapable of doing the work. The busy workers end up even more busy. Result of making everything efficient, you do not have anyone to properly train the workers. They can’t afford it.

Posted by ハムスター2ちゃんねる:

We have them in our work place too. What is more pathetic is the workers in their 40s (the bubble economy generation). To pay for their house loans, they create work in order to work overtime.

Posted by   :

It’s alright if it’s the kind of company where you can mess around online or study for qualifications when you have nothing else to do, but in fact most of the time you’re just trying to stretch out simple tasks over a longer period of time, or do trivial things, or simply pretending to work.

Posted by どうなる日本:

Prostitution—-Financial Aid
Suicide—-Death
Salary robbers—-Company NEET

Posted by :

They’re all parasites.

Posted by   :

If this was a foreign-owned company they’d be fired.

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  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    ‘Over employment’ That’s a term I never thought I’d see.

  • Ruaraidh

    What a shocking waste of manpower. Then again my last job was so under taxing I had plenty of time to post on japanCRUSH while I was waiting for something to happen.

    • Jahar

      I don’t know what people everywhere call them, but in canada it’s called a “whipper -snipper”. it’s for cutting grass near trees, fences, etc… Anyway I was on vacation in Kyoto last month and i saw a guy using one, and there were 2 other guys holding a screen between him and the sidewalk. 3 people to do a one person job. They love to waste manpower in Asia. Go to a restaurant in China and you might see one worker for every 2-3 tables.

  • Sam Yan

    Why are there people from “Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region china” posting here????

    • Jahar

      This is the internet. It enables people from far away places to communicate. Where have you been for the last 20 years? and why do you care where people are posting from?

  • 3ayo

    Having such a large percentage of the workforce unneeded, and lacking in competitive skills will only hurt Japan Inc. over time. And to think I thought the U.S./Europe were the only ones decaying. I guess Japan is just better at hiding its filth.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Ahaha, oh man I actually know a lot of Corporate NEETs where I live. But they’re super smart and super motivated actually. They do all their work really fast and end up with nothing to do. Either that, or people they depend on finishing first finish at the end of the day and make them stay late so they can work on what they’re meant to only after the others leave.

    So I suppose American Corporate NEETs are all justified ones… ahaha

  • Kiff

    Sounds like Chandler Bing in Friends….. what a fantastic opportunity to slack off

  • PixelPulse

    Sounds like my kind of job

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