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2010 Vol.2
Current Status of the Personnel System Centering on Regular Employees


Forming a structure that centers on regular employees and assigns peripheral work to non-regular employees, the personnel systems of Japanese companies have evolved along with postwar corporate growth, within a framework of total personnel management or total human resource management.
The history of Japanese personnel systems has seen several paradigms: it started with seniority systems and shifted to systems based on professional skills and then to today’s performance-based systems that are being firmly established. Performance-based systems went through a period of trial and error. However, most companies have overcome the disadvantages of performance-based systems, with each now having a system that has been modified to be compatible with its own circumstances.
Japanese companies’personnel systems centering on regular employees are characterized by their emphasis on people. That is, with a focus on people employed as regular employees, job rotations are conducted based on the assumption of long-term employment, with opportunities to experience various positions and workplaces being offered for training purposes, and appropriate compensation provided to those who have gained sufficient skills. However, regarding compensation, the recent trend in personnel systems shows a shift in focus from people to work. In other words, systems based on employees’responsibilities and roles have evidently emerged in Japanese companies.
Moreover, as society experiences the significant effects of a declining birth rate, an increase in number of the elderly, and a shrinking population, there are demands for personnel or human resource management mechanisms to offer more diverse and flexible choices. Companies have reached a point where they must consider a mix of various human resources and the treatment of workers hired based on their skill sets, while making no distinction between regular employees and non-regular employees and regarding the workplace as a mosaic.
Further, pressing issues of globalization in management have created situations in which Japanese companies must seriously face the long-lasting issue of”equal pay for equal value of work.”There is no turning back in globalization in personnel or human resource management.