Dynamics of Transition into Managerial Positions in Japan: Combining the Approaches of Intergenerational and Intragenerational Mobility

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Hirohisa TAKENOSHITA, Keio University, Japan
This paper investigates what shapes transitions into managerial positions from the perspectives of intergenerational and intragenerational mobility. We focus on attaining managerial jobs because across industrialized countries, those jobs are highly desirable and managers can earn higher wage. Stratification research has had greater interests in how those advantaged status are inherited across generations. Previous studies have predominantly deployed mobility tables to detect patterns and changes of intergenerational reproduction of social class. Nevertheless, this line of research has neglected the process through which people climb up corporate ladders. Conversely, stratification research has shifted their concerns from intergenerational mobility to intragenerational one, mobility from the first job to the current job. This research explores the mechanism by which workers attain managerial positions after they start working, while it ignores how privileges in family background shape transition into desirable positions in corporate hierarchy. We, therefore, need to combine those separate perspectives of intergenerational and intragenerational social mobility. Furthermore, it is important to consider that the process of attaining managerial jobs depend on institutional arrangement of education and labor market. For instance, it is assumed that the institutional contexts of employment practices shape conditions of promotion among employees. In Japan, given the long-term employment practices and seniority earnings, employees are more likely to be promoted if they remain in the same company for longer years. Conversely, in other countries, people can become managers even if they change employers. Moreover, Japanese educational system differs significantly from that of other Asian and European countries. We need to identify how those institutional arrangements mediate the intergenerational inheritance of those desirable positions in the labor market. The case of Japanese society is very suitable to demonstrating how inequality depends on institutional arrangements because of different institutional arrangements of schooling and labor market.