Surveys by the Japan Institute for Labor Training and Policy have found that only around 30% of women return to work after their children are born. Most quit their jobs while pregnant and, though they might plan to return soon, never do. Though deciding to leave work to focus on childcare may be necessary and advantageous in the short term, it can have adverse long term effects. Single-income households are not able to save as much money, which can make it difficult to pay for future college tuitions or retirement.
In 2015, the Japanese government launched the National Council for Promoting the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens, focused on workstyle reform and the advancement of women’s careers. To support the country’s efforts, Recruit Group launched a cross-organizational project called “iction!” (a combination of the Japanese word for childcare, “ikuji,” and the English word “action”). The goal of the project was to encourage people to work together to create a world where it is easy to balance work and parenting.
Recruit Group began three initiatives through iction!: ZIP WORK, Jitan JOB, and the iction! Future Household Simulation. The ZIP WORK initiative focused on creating professional opportunities for those with specialized skills and limited time. Similarly, the Jitan JOB initiative asked businesses to break jobs up into various smaller tasks that can be completed in short periods of time. These time-saving jobs expanded candidate pools for employers and created opportunities for people to contribute despite having many other demands on their time. The iction! Future Household Simulation was a prediction tool that families could use to plan for the future. By inputting current incomes, expenses, monthly savings, etc., users could calculate the achievability of their goals under various conditions.
Since launching in Japan, iction! has been incredibly successful. Over 1 million people have used the iction! Future Household Simulation. As of March 2019, Jitan JOB had created approximately 200,000 employment opportunities. And recently, Recruit Group partnered with the city of Kitakyushu to support women’s employment by cooperating with local companies and government bodies. The project also recently expanded to encompass other people who face working restrictions such as senior citizens and foreigners. The new goal of iction! is to collaborate with others to find ways to create diverse work styles so that as many people as possible can be successful in their chosen way of life.