Japan Rearing a Nation of Civil Servants


A recent survey of what professions Japanese parents would like to see their children undertake seems to suggest that the nation’s parents overwhelmingly have it in mind to raise a generation of civil servants…

The ranking (see also the source graph below) of responses given by parents to the question “what profession would you like to see your child working in?”:

1. Civil servant

2. Engineer/technician

3. Cook

4. Doctor/dentist

5. Scientist/researcher

6. Nurse

7. Teacher

8. Baseballer

9. Architect

10. Manager/businessman

11. Lawyer

12. Footballer

13. Entertainer

14. “Elite salaryman”

15. Family business/self-employed

With 24%, civil servant overwhelmingly dominated the rankings at twice the nearest competing occupation, that of engineer, a result which does not say much about the future economic dynamism of the nation, at least if parents get their way.

Decades of economic malaise seem to have consolidated parental aspirations into jobs perceived as being either untouchable or future-proof, or simply very optimistic as with all the celebrity cooks and athletes apparently being trained.

For those interested in more detail, the below graph has it. Each group of three graphs (ordered as above) is divided into a total figure (blue), and a figure for boys (green) and another for girls (red).

Some very strong differences in gender expectations are in evidence, though apparently not where the desirability of cushy unsackable civil service posts are concerned:


These results rather suggest a nightmare scenario of future Japan being comprised of old people doing nothing, civil servants administering their pensions, and engineers working to pay the pensions and wages of the other two (along with cooks attempting to keep them all fed).

Fortunately, children are not exclusively their parent’s creatures…

Leave a Comment