Fixing the Construction Labor Shortage Japan-Style

November 4, 2016

Japan is facing skilled labor shortage similar to our own and now plans to test a new idea to address their construction industry's shrinking numbers.  Might it work here?

Japan's overall labor force is shrinking and the country is facing the possibility of an 8 million worker shortage by 2025. In country's skilled construction worker supply has dropped 28 percent in the past two decades with 90 percent of those workers over age 30.  

Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry plan is to address the shortage by deploying available workers to jobsites where their skills are most needed. To do so, the Ministry is working with industry associations to create a voluntary database, cataloguing 3.3 million construction workers. Names, skill sets, training, and employment history will part of the database's information available to employers.

The listing will be operated by industry associations, not the Japanese government, and workers will not be require to participate if they prefer to opt out.

In an effort to more efficiently mobilize the workforce they have (i.e. deploy workers where they’re most needed), plans to create a massive database cataloguing all 3.3 million of the country’s construction workers. The voluntary database will include workers’ names, birth dates, qualifications, skill sets, employment history, and training.

The catalogue will likely be operated by industrial associations, not the government, according to The Japan News.

Japan is also urging contractors to increase pay, improve working condition, encourage more female labor participation.