Majority of Okinawan companies claim labor shortage affecting their operation

February 25, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Development Finance Corporation, on February 25, revealed the result of a survey on labor scarcity and its impact. The companies that answered “already facing scarcity of employees” and “expecting to face scarcity of employees,” accounted for 54.4 percent of respondents. The shortage is felt most in the food and beverage and accommodation industries, with 90.9 percent of companies lacking both full-time employees and casual employees. Among the companies facing labor shortage, the amount that answered “scarcity of employees affects the operation of business,” amounted to 52.3 percent of the whole industry. The figure is expected to reach 92.4 percent soon.

The biggest effect of labor shortage for 60.3 of survey respondents is “extension of work time.” Some of the firms see the effect in a “delay in the opening of new stores or revising of the business plan” due to the worker shortage in the construction industry.

The corporation has expressed concern as the labor shortage makes it difficult to meet demand. The quality of service in the hospitality industry seems to be suffering, and it is concerning that this condition may become drastic during the peak season in summer, which may also negatively influence the image of Okinawa tourism.

The survey was conducted from the end of November 2014 to early February this year, with 323 companies out of 367 contacted companies responding – a response rate of 88 percent. The survey did not include nursing care or child-minders. A summary of the survey is also open to the public on the Finance Corporation’s website.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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