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Survey of Corporate Attitudes Towards Wage Trends for 2019

Reasons for wage improvement, “stability of and securing the workforce” went up to the 80% range for the first time
— Employees’ salaries and bonuses for 2019 are estimated to increase by approximately 4.1 trillion yen —


While companies considering the economy for 2018 to be in a “recovery phase” dropped to the 10% range for the first time in two years, those considering it to be in a “downturn phase” increased to the double-digit level. The recovery trend faltered, and it was a year of increased severity. (Teikoku Databank, "Survey of Corporate Attitudes towards Economic Outlook for 2019") Amid a serious manpower shortage, in addition to having the consumption tax hike ahead in October 2019, trends in wage improvement are attracting a lot of attention.

Under such circumstances, Teikoku Databank has conducted a survey on corporate attitudes towards wage trends for 2019. This survey was conducted in conjunction with the January 2019 TDB Trends Research.

*Survey period: January 18 - January 31, 2019; Companies Surveyed: 23,035; Valid Responses: 9,856 (Response Rate: 42.8%) The survey on wages has been conducted in January every year since January 2006, and this is the 14th survey

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

*Wage improvement means improvement (increase) in wages by across-the-board pay and bonus pay (lump-sum pay) increases, and does not include annual pay rises

Primary points of survey results(summary)

  1. 1 Companies anticipating “wage improvement” in 2019 surpassed 50% for the third consecutive year at 55.5%. Companies anticipating “wage improvement” exceed those anticipating “no wage improvement” for the ninth consecutive year, and the difference remains very large at 36.4 points. The wage trends for 2019 are generally improving.
  2. 2 With respect to the details of wage improvement, across-the-board pay and bonus pay (lump-sum pay) stood at 45.6% (an increase of 0.2 points y-o-y), and 30.3% (a decrease of 1.5 points y-o-y), respectively. Across-the-board pay remained at a high level, in the 40% range, for the third consecutive year, and bonus pay (lump-sum pay) also remained in the 30% range from the previous year.
  3. 3 With respect to the reasons for wage improvement, the percentage citing “stability of and securing the workforce” marked a new record high at 80.4%, which is the first time in the 80% range. The trend to increase wages for stability and to secure the workforce has strengthened. While “business expansion of one’s own company” (40.9%) has largely dropped from the previous year, “consumption tax hike” increased by 7.0 points. With respect to the reasons for no wage improvement, “poor business performance of one’s own company” (52.6%) dropped for the fourth consecutive year. “Increase of human investment” (22.0%) marked a new record, and “consumption tax hike” (17.5%) increased by 8.0 points.
  4. 4 Total personnel expenses for 2019 are expected to increase by an average of 3.02%. The rate of increase in personnel expenses is projected to grow slightly from the previous year. Among these, the total of employees' salaries and bonuses is estimated to increase by approximately 4.1 trillion yen (an average of 2.82%).
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