Survey of Motivation to Work Among Non-Regular Employees in the Food Services Companies: A Statistical Analysis Considering Length of Employment

Survey of Motivation to Work Among Non-Regular Employees in the Food Services Companies: A Statistical Analysis Considering Length of Employment

Tomonori Matsuki, Jun Nakamura
DOI: 10.4018/IJSSOE.2018040104
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Over the last few decades, the workforce in Japan has been rapidly decreasing. At the same time, the number of non-regular employees has been increasing. Under these circumstances, employee satisfaction and commitment to their organizations are important issues. The authors focused on non-regular employees in the Japanese food services industry. In this industry, the proportion of non-regular employees is high, raising their motivation and stabilizing the workforce is a big management task. The authors studied satisfaction and commitment among employees of three major companies using a questionnaire. Factors associated with employee satisfaction were shown to vary significantly by length of employment. Additionally, three patterns of factors associated with employee satisfaction were identified.
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The workforce in Japan has been decreasing rapidly since the 1990s due to the declining birthrate. Moreover, the workforce (i.e., the total number of employed individuals) will continue to decrease in the future. The rate of decline is particularly remarkable when compared with other developed countries (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Trends in the labor ratio: comparison among countries Source: The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training, 2017


Although the workforce is shrinking, the number of non-regular employees, who are mainly involved in short-term or temporary work, has grown since the mid-1990s (MHLW, 2016). These workers cannot accumulate job experience or sufficient vocational proficiency over the long term. Consequently, there is a gap in wages between non-regular and regular employees (METI, 2010).

In the past, non-regular employees helped businesses transition operations between the on and off seasons. However, more recently, it has become very important for food service companies to maintain non-regular employees and prevent them from leaving jobs. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the length of employment for non-regular employees has gradually increased over time as in Figure 2.

The authors of the present study are interested in how the motivation of non-regular employees can be enhanced to retain them within the workforce; businesses cannot grow without a secure workforce. Therefore, factors leading to employee satisfaction (hereinafter referred to as “ES factors”) are the focus of this paper, particularly for non-regular employees working in food services, such as restaurant workers. Securing an adequate workforce within the food services industry is a serious problem because the work is labor-intensive and there is a large difference between busy and quiet periods. The food services industry is supported by a workforce comprised of non-regular employees. Therefore, the scope of this study encompassed non-regular employees in the food services industry. However, some findings in this paper would probably be useful other industry (in Japan and other countries). Because many companies suffering from lack of personnel resources regardless of industrial structure, they have a strong interest in how to motivate employees and strengthen employees’ royalties to the organization.

Figure 2.

Percentage of continuous employment period in non-regular workers (time series) Source: MIAC (1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012), Employment Structure Basic Survey


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