Message from the President Sep.2008
a monthly magazine for our employee Sep.2008
Realization of a “New Lifetime Employment Model”
According to the Nikkei, the ratio of overseas sales by the Japanese manufacturing industry was 45.3% in the period ended March 2008, rising by close to 10% in the last roughly four years and reaching their highest level ever. In particular, main Meitec client industries showed the following increases: automobile industry, 68.2%; electronics, 50.1%; machinery, 49.3%. This means that the strategy of the Japanese manufacturing industry to expand sales in the overseas market, and not within the domestic market, which is already seeing a decrease in total population, is making great progress. Given the recent subprime crisis, the Japanese manufacturing industry is expanding less in North American and European markets and more in Asia, the Middle East, Russia and other emerging markets. Domestic sales currently makes up less than 20% or even less than 10% of total sales for some companies, with these kinds of companies expected to increase.
What will happen as these kinds of companies continue to globalize? While the future becomes more and more difficult to predict with unforeseen events constantly occurring, creating premises such as “40 years from now, the headquarters of this company will definitely be here and the factories here” needs to be seen as more and more of a risk. With the goal of companies being to increase earnings, the way of thinking that indefinitely places core divisional functions such as headquarters and development in an area making up less than 10% of total sales will become a risk. Furthermore, deciding that “if I am hired by this company, I will certainly be able to work here until retirement” will also become a risk. The company’s function one day being suddenly transferred overseas is something that is already occurring at certain companies. If the 20th-century-style lifetime employment model was a model based on the company (retiring at the same company one at which one was hired out after graduating from college), then that “old lifetime employment model” is already ceasing to function, and I believe it is the younger generation that is most sensitive to this change.
So then, how does the individual survive in the coming age. One solution is to become a professional in one’s individual occupation. In other words, be able to work not just in one individual company, but have skills that exceed the limits of the company. The company might disappear or move overseas, but as long as that occupation is required by society, one will be able to make a living at that occupation. While this way of thinking could be referred to as not relying on the company but instead as an individual establishing an independent lifestyle, I believe it could also be referred to as an occupation-based “New Lifetime Employment Model.”
The “Career Passport Framework” envisioned in Meitec Group’s True Global Vision 21 is a challenge to create a new lifetime employment model based on the engineering occupation. One large strength of Meitec is that it can survive as long as there is a manufacturing industry in Japan. This strength has been demonstrated in the 34 years since Meitec’s founding in 1974. Today’s Meitec Group exists precisely because all of the frontline engineers have overcome the pressures of different markets to continue to win the trust of our customers through each of their individual duties. Meitec Group will continue and grow as long as this relationship of trust exists.
Therefore, what we must first do as Meitec Group is to expand this relationship of trust to even more client companies. As a result of this, we will be able to enlarge and strengthen our customer base and increase the choice of duties, regions and benefits for all of our engineers, which will lead to the creation of a working environment in which our employees will feel comfortable for years to come. Further improving a working environment in which our engineers can continue to work and grow and increasing the number of children that can proudly say “My father (mother) is an engineer!” is a part of the “Career Passport Framework” envisioned by the Meitec Group.