Home
Back

Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Contract vs Seishain 2019/5/18 10:46
My significant other (Japanese, 30+ years old) is debating whether to stay with his contract position or look for a seishain position.

He's a contract worker for an American company in Japan. Although it's only a contract position, the Japanese employees of this company are rarely let go. The other Japanese workers have been there 10+ years. He currently has a high salary, flexible scheduling, and a lot of vacation time.

However, he doesn't have some benefits seishain workers do like a retirement plan.

I always assumed seishain positions are better because of the pay and benefits, but after talking to my significant other and all of my Japanese friends, they say there's one huge downfall and that's work life balance. They say in Japan you have to choose between pay and benefits or good scheduling and vacation.

Given then, what do you personally feel is better?
by CeeCee (guest)  

Re: Contract vs Seishain 2019/5/18 19:31
It is not that he is being offered the choice of whether to get the gseishainh status at the same company instead of staying on as a contract worker, right? So if he wants a gseishainh status, hefd have to look for a job elsewhere, in a Japanese company, I assume.

By now Japanese companies donft provide glifetime employmenth; when they fall into difficulties, they ruthlessly start off early retirement schemes, or send people of certain age & over to their subsidiaries. So the long-term stability might not be there. And it is true that in Japanese companies it is extremely rare to be able to take a whole week off with your paid vacation days, and also that you are expected to put in long hours.

Personally? If I like the current work, and if I have skills to change companies later if I need to, I would stay there as a contract worker. By retirement plan I assume you mean pension, and probably he is enrolled in the national pension scheme? He might just want to save on his own for his old age, if the salary is good.

A few factors I would also consider; you donft have to mention them here though: how many years hefs been with that company, and what industry it is – whether it is a field where it is possible that the company/office suddenly pulls out of Japan market. (No answer needed; just for your thoughts.)

OK, this is coming from a Japanese woman, who started off as gseishainh out of university but quit after one year and ever since then either freelance or contract worker constantly, now in my 50s lol.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Contract vs Seishain 2019/5/20 11:50
I also work for a global foreign company here in Tokyo and they have both schemes: seishain, keiyakuin. Japanese candidates almost aways request to be hired as seishain, because even if it's no longer true, in Japan this is still associated with stability and job security. At least financial institutions seem to think like that.

But there are some people in my company that explicitly request to be contract workers. The catch is simple: some of the standards rules of the company do not apply to them. Contract workers can negotiate benefits without having to be in alignment with unions or the company compensation policies. For example, in the world of seishains there usually are salary brackets that are strongly tied to experience, age, position, etc., and any negotiations can only occur within those limits. A contract worker is not bound to that, especially when they have some very specific knowledge that is in high demand and that a company really needs. Then they manage to get better salaries and much more paid holidays that what would theoretically be allowed under a seishain scheme.

Of course the downside is that usually companies consider contract workers as expensive and unsustainable solutions in the long term, so at some point they try to: convince the contract worker to become a seishain and align their situation with the rest of the company (by giving them higher responsibilities and work that is worth his/her salary), or by letting him/her go as soon as the company has acquired the knowledge or finished the project for which the contract worker was hired. Also, when a company gets in trouble, there's no doubt that the first employees to be let go, are the contract workers (as they're typically not backed by unions).

So, as a conclusion. Being a contract worker is a good solution for people with highly specialized knowledge that can sell their skills at a very high price and that would have no trouble finding job at other companies if they were to be suddenly terminated. This way they can earn very high salaries and have very flexible schedules outside of a company standards. But it's not for everybody. Some people would rather settle down and take a slower but more secure approach on the way up the corporate ladder.
by bz (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract vs Seishain 2019/6/13 13:37
You also mention that your husbands friends have been contract worker for over 10 years. Last I checked the law states that you can only be a contract worker for 3 years. Then you need to either become a seishain or are laid off.
by RG (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread