Navigating Career with Young Children: Japanese Women, Family-Life Balance and the Challenges of Professional Advancement

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Nobuko HOSOGAYA, Sophia University, Japan
Noriko ARAI, Sophia university, Japan
Akiko OUCHI, Kwansei University, Japan
Asuka TAKEUCHI, Sophia university, Japan
This study aims to clarify the factors at work in the interruption and continuation of the professional careers during the child care period. Compared to women in other OECD countries, Japanese females with higher educational qualifications tend to show a lower employment rate in the period when their children are in need of care. In Japan, career success is typically related to long-time employment leading to internal promotion within the one company. In reality, however, a high percentage of female workers change their job and employment status. This study is based on in-depth interviews conducted with Japanese female professionals, and compares two types of female career, namely an “interrupted” type of career with a career of the “continuation” type. The female professionals in the “interruption” type, generally experience changes in job and/or company, periods of time in which they take a “career break”, and also they then experience restarting their career.  Through this comparison we analyze the difference in the factors which affect their career interruption and continuation, in terms of their perception of a career goal, the necessary action they need to take to attain such a goal, and how they manage a work-family balance. In conclusion, this study proposes some “career strategies” for female professionals who experience career interruption. These include having clear goals and a strong will for career success and the mobilizing of possible resources for managing their work family balance. In some case the interruption period will be useful for their competence enhancement. This strategic attitude and the activities that flow from it are especially aimed at promoting satisfactory work conditions in the post- interruption period. Their strategies will also necessitate the building of a consensus in terms of resource allocation, particularly among family members, and especially with their husbands.