Japan Struggles with Slacker Salarymen

Anti-ambitious young Japanese opt out of the career fast track
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2008 9:17 AM CDT
Japan Struggles with Slacker Salarymen
Job seekers in identical "recruit suits" wait in line Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008 for a briefing from a Japanese company during a seminar to support students who will graduate from in March 2010.    (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

A new generation of Japanese salarymen is dropping out of the competition for raises, promotions, and managerial opportunities, the Wall Street Journal reports. Older Japanese are shocked at the attitudes of these ambition-shunning young workers who openly decline to climb the corporate ladder and switch jobs in pursuit of less-demanding work. Dubbed "hodo-hodu zuku" or "so-so folks," they are accused of dragging the economy down.

"They'll ruin Japan with their lax work ethic," one labor consultant said. "They're supposed to be leaders of the next generation." Experts believe that the laid-back rebellion stems from the country's economic slump of the '90s, when young Japanese, seeing workers who had given their lives to their companies lose their jobs anyway, decided to change their priorities.
(More Japan stories.)

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