On November 15 the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) announced the results of its latest Basic Survey on Wage Structure (Starting Wages), which aims to clarify the wage situation of workers employed in main industries. The survey, which investigated wages for the month of June 2011, targeted 13,534 private-sector companies with 10 or more full-time workers.
The survey revealed that the starting wage for university graduates was 202,000 yen, up 2.3% over the previous year and the first increase in two years. This was the first time for the starting wage of university graduates to exceed 200,000 yen since the survey began in 2001, although the employment rate for university graduates this year dropped to a record low of 91%.
By gender, the starting wage was 205,000 yen for male university graduates and 197,900 yen for female university graduates. By company scale, the starting wage rose by 4.5% in large companies (with 1,000 or more full-time workers) and 2.5% in medium-sized companies (with 100–999 full-time workers) and declined by 3.3% in small companies (with 10–99 full-time workers).
By industry, the starting wage was highest in "scientific research, professional and technical services" for both men (248,300 yen) and women (227,700 yen) and lowest for men (192,200 yen) in "medical, health care, welfare" and for women (185,400 yen) in "accommodation, eating and drinking services."
Meanwhile, the starting wage for senior high school graduates was 159,400 yen for males and 151,800 yen for females, giving an average of 156,500 yen, down 0.8%.
Starting Wage Distribution
The highest ratio of both male and female university graduates received a starting wage in the 200,000 yen range. In the case of senior high school graduates, the corresponding figures were in the 160,000 yen range for males and in the 150,000 yen range for females.