Trend of Having a Side Job Never Ends; Yet This is Not the Only Clue

On July 15, Yahoo Japan Corporation announced a new human resource strategy that has been developed to utilize talents who could work for the company on the side, and started to recruit the new type of human resources. The name of the project is “gig partner,” and the positions offered are a “strategic advisor” who supports decision making in management in such situation as corporate planning, and a “business planning advisor” who has highly professional skills in specific tasks, both of whom are supposed to work under outsourcing contract. The requirements to apply for these positions are as follows: being able to lead in taking actions in order to “produce more creative convenience,” or having skills/experiences therefor (Cited from the webpage of Yahoo Japan Corporation), regardless of whether having other occupations or not. They are supposed to work from home. Each of highly professional/skilled personnel is supposed to work at least one day per week and to receive the payment of 50 to 150 thousand yen per month. Through this project, Yahoo Japan is aiming to secure highly professional personnel such as those who have experience to launch a new business or to broker business partnership before.

Reflecting the trend of globalization, Japanese companies, large companies and IT companies in particular, have already begun to explore the way to adopt “various work styles.” Although it can be said that “Act on the Arrangement of Related Acts to Promote Work Style Reform,” enforced in April last year, was one of the turning points, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and determined the trend of work style reform. According to our research*1 conducted by Yano Research Institute during the period of the state of emergency, 10.6% of the companies responded had already started making efforts to realize diversified work styles / acceptance of having a side job, and 48.9% are considering to take measures to adopt various work styles in near future,” both triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, regarding the business knowledge service provided by VisasQ Inc., building a network of 100 thousand business persons including those who wish to work on the side, the turnover in the period from March to May 2020 increased rapidly by 41% from the same period of the previous year. The trend of various work styles that include having a side job, task-based employment, telecommuting, and equal pay for equal work, will never come to its end. The national government of Japan also started working to improve the employment environment of “gig workers.” This movement is inevitable where a company/country cannot afford to assure the quality lives of its employees/citizens.

Aside from encouraging “diversity in work styles,” the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the changes in the corporate code of conduct. Global institutional investors are paying more attention to “contribution to the sustainability” of society and even the earth than short-term share holders’ return. Making labor market more mobile and side work more common, in other words, maximization of hourly productivity of individuals and companies is not the only “clue” to the right answer. It is not easy to produce outstanding human resources such as Koichi Tanaka, executive research fellow of Shimadzu Corporation, or Akira Yoshino, honorary fellow of Asahi Kasei Corporation only through establishing a system to accept side jobs. Moreover, income disparity caused by absolute ability difference between individuals involves a social risk of continuous division of societies. Each of individuals, companies, and societies now has to carefully reconsider what the best thing for an individual is and what the best thing for the entirety is in one another’s relationship.

*1: Documents related to “Structural Changes in Japanese Industries and Growth Market in Post-COVID-19 World 2020” published on July 10, 2020


This Week’s Focus, July 17

Takashi Mizukoshi, the President