Koureisha Ltd.: Redefining Flexible Retirement Opportunities

By: Nicholas Barracca, Intern, AARP International

Publish Date: January  01,  2014


KUeda.jpgA human resources (HR) firm in Japan called Koureisha Ltd.—Japanese for Elderly Inc.—is redefining flexible retirement opportunities for older workers in Japan. Founded in 2000, Koureisha offers a unique employment placement service to businesses by matching older workers with temporary staff positions.

Japan has one of the oldest demographic profiles of developed countries; the largest age group is between 60 and 64 years old. Japan’s population over the age of 65 makes up 24 percent of the total population, according to the CIA Factbook. A spokesman from Koureisha highlighted the demographic aging as a unique business opportunity for older workers. He said, “People now have 80 years to live, and their post-retirement lives are twice as long as 50 years ago. It is not exaggerating to say that their post-retirement lives are too long just to be engaged in leisure activities without working. In addition, a number of people say that it is financially difficult to live only on pension because their post-retirement lives have become too long.” Koureisha workers are matched with companies based on interest and their skill set. The increased income from part-time work provides extra financial security in addition to the pension withdrawals. Working also gives older workers opportunities for social interaction and provides tasks to keep them engaged and active.

The company “provides various opportunities so that many older persons can enjoy their work, meet with groups, communicate with others and maintain their social bond.” A company contracting with Koureisha can take advantage of cost benefits older workers provide. For example, an experienced worker hired through Koureisha eliminates long wait costs needed to fulfill a temporary position, which is already provided at a lower cost because Koureisha employees work part time while benefitting from pension withdrawal. Koureisha offers placements in a variety of companies, mostly in gas business–related positions, or other office positions such as facilities management, maintenance, or general office work. Koureisha has placed workers at local Tokyo utilities companies but also larger national brands, such as Panasonic and Sharp. The business has grown sustainably since its inception in 2000, and is now more than 45 million yen ($500,000) worth of service. As Japan’s population continues to age, Koureisha’s business looks to expand and provide flexible and affordable labor from an experienced older age demographic.