Young Workers in 2024 Coping with ¥180,000 Take-Home Pay in the Black Company Era | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Young Workers in 2024 Coping with ¥180,000 Take-Home Pay in the Black Company Era

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
He said he worked about 50 hours of overtime this past month.

Finally, Japan’s GDP has been overtaken by Germany and is now in fourth place. Perhaps because of this economic situation, salaried workers’ salaries are not rising and they are still suffering. Although there are calls for a labor shortage, the National Tax Agency’s Survey of Private Salary Statistics shows that one in six Japanese earns an annual salary in the 2 million yen range.

What kind of people are working with annual incomes in the 2 million yen range? We interviewed Mr. Sasaki (pseudonym), a 27-year-old man working in the manufacturing industry in Tokyo, who actually earns around 2 million yen a year.

“After graduating from university, I joined this company at the age of 23 and have been working here for four years. My gross salary is ¥220,000, and I take home just over ¥170,000. Out of that, ¥60,000 goes towards rent, and fixed expenses like utilities amount to ¥10,000. I spend around ¥30,000 on food and dining, and about ¥30,000 on socializing, averaging around ¥130,000 per month in expenses. The rest goes towards savings, but unexpected expenses do come up, so if I can save ¥20,000, that’s considered good.”

The company where Mr. Sasaki works does not offer any bonuses or allowances that add to his annual salary, and he is not paid overtime. Although the president of the company has told him that he will be paid accordingly if his performance improves, he has never been paid overtime.

In addition, the senior employees in the company are also paid the same salary, with no raises, and without a position, everyone is paid the same flat salary.

“I heard that our company was most profitable in the early 2000s. At that time, annual income exceeded ¥10 million from the third year of employment, and bonuses were equivalent to six months’ salary twice a year, with regular raises as well. However, there’s no trace of that now. It’s a small company with few employees, and I don’t expect salaries to increase in the future. I don’t have any expectations.”

Another problem arises in such companies. They have a corporate culture that tries to settle everything on the basis of mentality. In this day and age, gut feelings are not acceptable, but salaries will not go up unless the company makes a profit, and it is impossible to swing what is not up one’s sleeve.

“There was a problem when a senior left the company. The issue was who would cover the senior’s workload. In the end, we divided the senior’s work among ourselves. The decision was made by our superiors, reasoning that if everyone shares the workload, we can manage somehow. When I was told, ‘It’s tough, but since everyone’s workload has increased, we’re in this together,’ I was really upset.”

In a normal company, when one person quits, a new person is hired to take over the work, but Mr. Sasaki’s company did not hire anyone new in order to cut labor costs.

However, Mr. Sasaki’s supervisor decided that it would not be a problem if the work that had been assigned to Mr. Sasaki’s seniors was allocated to the entire company, and the workload increased without a salary increase.

Other times, the workload increases due to a supervisor’s spontaneous comments. The day before a product delivery date, all-night overtime work was becoming a regular occurrence. When overnight overtime is required, all team members stay overnight as a rule, so they cannot take a day off except for funerals.

The lack of salary increases is due to other problems besides the company’s performance, according to Mr. Sasaki.

“Most of the people still remaining in that company are from the founding members. I think everyone is working tirelessly to keep the company from going under. Because of that, there’s no room to move up. The same person has been in the same position for over 10 years. As a result, there are no promotions, and achievements are not recognized. In other words, it’s a company that only needs soldiers to support it.”

Mr. Sasaki has given up on his current company and has decided to change jobs to another company in the same industry. The annual salary at his new company is 5.1 million yen, taking into account his previous experience. The fact that he was concurrently responsible for almost all of the company’s operations was highly regarded when he changed jobs, and his annual salary increased. Mr. Sasaki says he was satisfied with his new job.

Companies like the one where Mr. Sasaki worked are all over the world. One can only hope that the number of such companies will decrease.

  • Interview, text, and photos Blank paper Green

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles