Information Releases

Corporate Attitudes toward the 2016 Wage Trends

46.3% of companies expect wage improvement, a decrease for the first time in seven years
— "Retention of labor force" is the top reason for wage improvement, reaching a record-high of 73.8% —


The economic state in 2015 was identified as a sign of stagnation, given that more than a half of the companies recognized the year as a "temporary lull" phase ("Corporate Attitudes toward the 2016 Economic Outlook"). However, the government has requested private companies to raise wages through public/private dialogue. For this reason, the trends of wage improvement, such as a raise in base pay and bonuses (lump-sum payments) along with job security, have been attracting attention as an element that determines the whereabouts of Abenomics.

Based on these developments, Teikoku Databank conducted a survey on corporate attitudes toward wage trends in fiscal 2016. This research was conducted in conjunction with the January 2016 TDB Trends Research.

*Survey Period: January 18 - 31, 2016; Companies Researched: 23,228; Valid Responses: 10,519 (Response Rate: 45.3%). Note that the survey on wage trends has been conducted since January 2006, and this is the 11th time.

*Details of this survey can be found on the dedicated Economic Trend Survey HP. (

*The term “wage improvement” refers to an improvement (raise) in wages by a raise in base pay and bonuses (lump-sum payments), and it does not include regular salary increases.

Primary points of survey results(summary)

  1. 1 Companies expecting wage improvements in fiscal year 2016 account for 46.3% of the respondents, which fell below the last survey (anticipation for fiscal year 2015) by 2.0%. This decline is the first time in seven years since the survey was conducted in 2009 (anticipation for fiscal year 2009), that recorded a sharp decline due to an economic downturn precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008. In fiscal year 2015, two companies out of three conducted wage improvements.
  2. 2 The details of the wage improvement are; raise in base pay: 35.5% (down 1.2% year-on-year); raise in bonuses (lump sum payments): 26.0% (down 1.4% year-on-year). The raise in base pay had risen for three consecutive years since fiscal year 2013, but declined for the first time in four years.
  3. 3 Looking at the reasons for improving the wages, “retention of work force” accounted for 73.8%, reaching a record high. While the reason "competitors’ wage trends" also reached a record high, "performance improvement" decreased for three consecutive years. Out of the reasons for a lack of improvement in wages, "poor business performance" was the largest at 61.5%, and "wage trends of other companies in the same industry" and "enhancement of human investment" increased by 3% or more from the previous year survey.
  4. 4 The total personnel expenses in fiscal year 2016 are expected to increase by an average of 2.49%. The total salary and bonuses of employees are estimated to increase approximately 3.4 trillion yen.
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