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2009 Vol.2
Human Resources Development Systems Focusing on the Declining Labor Force


The labor force in Japan is steadily declining. In particular, the expectation is that the decline in the workforce in the younger generation will be prominent. However, even in the era of the declining labor force, companies must maintain the consolidated strength of human capabilities, i.e. the combined strength of all their human resources. The fundamental factors in determining this strength are “sufficient number of personnel” and “quality of human resources”. Companies will be more required to avoid deterioration of the consolidated strength of human resources by aiming for a smaller group of highly-talented personnel, with which the declining number of workers is substituted by the high-quality of each employee. Thus, the human resources development system is becoming more important, and beginning to attract more attention.
As a result of personnel system reforms that began in the mid-1990s, the image of the capable employee that the company expects has become clearer. At the same time, the methodology of locating and rewarding capable employees was refined through the adoption of the performance-based remuneration system.
However, a personnel system may be able to reward capable employees, but it cannot create (or increase the number of) talented people through human resources development. When there was an ample supply of human resources, companies could pick up talented personnel and utilize them. However, in the era of the declining labor force, the companies’ attitudes need to be changed to those of “creating” capable workers.
This paper discusses the shortfall of the present human resources development system, and what sort of system must be built in order to maintain and enhance the total powers of human resources in preparing for the age of the declining labor force