Higher-paid individuals with specialized skills and low-wage workers in need of additional income to make ends meet tend to take on second jobs more than middle-class workers, a government survey showed.

Among employees of different income classes, 6.25 percent of those earning 10 million yen ($67,000) or more a year in their main jobs had side jobs in 2022, with the proportion even higher for individuals earning 15 million yen or more, according to the Employment Status Survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The survey on working conditions, conducted every five years, also showed that 6.25 percent of people earning less than 3 million yen per year in their regular jobs worked second jobs in 2022. The proportion tended to be higher for those who earned less.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (second from left) speaks at a government economic policy meeting, which included discussions about second jobs, at his office on April 12, 2022. (Kyodo)

For middle-class workers who earned between 3 million yen and 10 million yen a year, 2.82 percent had second jobs. Of all workers, 4.61 percent had side jobs.

Toshihide Iwata, an official of the government-affiliated Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training which surveyed workers about second jobs, said many high-paid workers use their professional expertise in their second jobs.

Among low-income workers, there are those "who have no choice but to take on multiple part-time jobs due to the financial challenges they face," he said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government has encouraged people to take on second jobs to help address the chronic labor shortage in the rapidly graying country, but many companies still hesitate to permit their employees to do so due to concerns such as potential information leaks and excess workloads.

According to the JILPT, 38.4 percent of those without side jobs said their employers prohibit them from doing outside work.

The survey also suggested that middle-income employees are less interested in pursuing side jobs due to long work hours, with many saying in the survey that their workload is already high and that it is difficult to take on another job.