Here’s one of these times that goo Ranking’s surveys give a detailed view of some aspect of Japan’s society, this time being the surprising realities of dispatch workers.

The dispatch law in Japan is a complex beast; for example the company where people are placed cannot legally instruct the dispatched staff or even select who gets placed – it all has to go through the dispatch company, although my experience of working with dispatchers is that the letter of the law is not always followed…

This situation will probably be familiar to many of my readers, as there is an increasing tendancy for Japanese schools to employ English teachers through dispatch companies; one major benefit for the schools or private companies is that it is very easy to dismiss the workers at the end of a short-term contract, whereas full-time employees are very difficult to dispatch, shall we say.

You’ll notice also that the vast majority of the points below are negative.

Here’s the only kind of dispatch most Japanese can get behind; the sign on the back says “Disaster Dispatch”, Japan’s Self Defence Force being sent to help out with natural disasters.


Ranking results

Q: Which of these realities of dispatch workers do you find suprising? (Sample size=500)

Rank   Votes
1 Many dispatch companies don’t pay commuting fares 154
2 Being on an N month contract, every time I’m on tenterhooks as to whether I’ll be renewed or not 91
3 Welfare programme is insufficient 65
4 Regardless of how many years pass I never get a pay raise 57
5 It’s difficult to take holidays 55
6 Frankly, the Dispatch Worker Law gets in the way 53
7 I never know the joys of a regular bonus 51
8 My salary is low 50
9= I need to be careful with younger employees 49
9= I want to become a regular employee, but it’s difficult to find work 49
11 My salary is low on months with many public holidays 43
12 I get depressed when I hear how much my friends make per hour 39
13 As my future is insecure I cannot feel free 35
14 I cannot escape from a lifetime of dispatch working 34
15= I think I do a better job than the regular employees 33
15= I was told it was a long-term placement, but the company terminated the project then me 33
15= I like being called Mr Dispatcher, hate The Replacement, The Stand-In, The Substitute 33
18= As I want to cut down my expenses, I always turn down invitations to lunch 32
18= The actual work differs from what was described by my dispatch company 32
20 I get bullied with “How much are we paying you?”, “You’re just running up the overtime hours!”, etc 30
21 I don’t get on with my dispatch coordinator 29
22= I don’t really know what exactly is “office casual” 28
22= I don’t get paid when I have to attend compulsory annual health checks 28
22= I end up doing the work that none of the regular employees want to do 28
22= I can work at big companies where I wouldn’t get in as a regular employee 28
26 I’m under pressure to hit the ground running on a new dispatch 27
27= It’s tough that my monthly pay varies on how busy my dispatch location if 26
27= It’s a pain filling in and posting out my timesheet 26
27= Except for my dispatch contract renewal, I don’t hear a word from my dispatch coordinator 26
27= As my dispatch company doesn’t do anything, I have an overwhelming feeling of intermediary exploitation 26
31= It’s amazing how what is actually an interview is called an introductory meeting, a workplace study tour 24
31= It’s tough that my dispatch company won’t search for a new placement until my old one is completed 24
33= I cannot get ill as my body is my sole capital 23
33= There occasionally are dispatch workers who evade their responsibilities by suddenly disappearing into the night 23
33 People expect dispatch workers to have high-level Excel skills 23
36= I want to get invited to company drinking parties 22
36= I cannot get conversation to flow with the people at my dispatch location 22
36= The vetting when applying for a home loan is strict 22
36= Even though the dispatch company tells me things as definitely OK, there’s times when my next job cannot be pinned down 22
36= I occasionally go out drinking to dirt-cheap pubs with fellow dispatchers for a communal moan 22
41= Whereever I go I cannot get on well with the people so I cannot continue any placement 20
41= There are dodgy dispatch companies that pay commuting fees but have very low hourly rates 20
43 When I quit a placement I need only tell my dispatch company and they will help prevent any future problems 19
44 There is a huge difference between good and bad placements, depending on the person in charge at the placed company 18
45= Being only able to approach one company at a time is tough 17
45= It’s enjoyable to see what goes on inside various companies 17
45= Rather than dispatch workers, it’s the placed company’s person in charge that changes frequently 17


goo Rankings asked iBRIDGE’s Research Plus to conduct this survey, where over the 28th and 29th of September 2016 500 members aged between 20 and 39 of their monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire.


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