In Japan as well as in Germany the cohort born between 1975 and 1985 increasingly faces a labour market of non-regular employment. How does the perception of this labour market environment influence this cohort’s attitudes towards work? Is it different from older cohorts? Do the attitudes towards work within the specified cohort differ or are they coherent for Germany and Japan?
I argue that the individual perception of an increasing deregulation of the labour market and of rising numbers of unemployed trigger a change in estimations of one’s own professional future and a change in one’s attitude towards working life. In order to test this hypothesis, I carried out qualitative interviews with possible “new” value groups in Japan and Germany in 2006. For Japan “freeter” were the target group, in Germany the focus was put on the “Generation Praktikum” (Generation Internship). The results of these qualitative interviews are the basis for a secondary analysis of quantitative value surveys such as the World Value Survey, the Japanese Study of National Character and the German Socio-Economic-Panel. This quantitative analysis, which is currently under way, focuses on whether the “new” attitudes found in the qualitative interviews can be verified for the cohort born between 1975 and 1985 and whether this change can be claimed as a cohort effect.
Carola Hommerich is a Ph.D. candidate in the Research Institute for Sociology at the University of Cologne. She currently holds a research scholarship at the DIJ.