Over 50 percent of those aged 60 through 74 years old in Japan over recent years have remained unemployed despite wishing to be in work, a recent survey by a human resources company has found, even as the country faces a labor shortage.

It also found that around two-thirds of the companies polled are not eager to hire senior people as full-time employees, although many of them said there was no particular reason for their stance, according to Recruit Co.

People cross a street in front of JR Shinagawa Station in Tokyo in July 2022. (Kyodo)

The online survey of 6,000 people and 600 companies conducted in February and March this year found that 37.7 percent of elderly respondents wanted to be in employment, with the trend rising since 2016.

Meanwhile, 32.0 percent said they were not interested in finding work and 30.3 percent said they were ambivalent about doing so.

When asked about job hunting activities in the past five years, 53.7 percent of those seeking employment but without a job at the time of questioning said they wished to work but have been unable to find a job.

Among them, 24.0 percent said they were still looking for a job, 21.8 percent said they stopped seeking employment after an unsuccessful attempt, and 7.9 percent said they had just started searching for work.

The survey also showed that 11.5 percent had found employment, while 34.8 percent said they were not looking for a job.

Regarding company attitudes toward employing elderly people, 66.5 percent said they were "not proactive" about hiring them as full-time employees.

The most common response given was that "there is no particular reason" at 30.3 percent, with the second most frequent answer at 29.6 percent being that they have a sufficient workforce, while 23.8 percent cited concerns about elderly people's health and physical strength.

In an aging country facing a labor shortage, an official at Recruit said, "Efforts must be made so that as many elderly people as possible who wish to work can find a job."

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