If everything goes according to the government’s plan, contractors for thegovernment may see themselves hiring more women to help win public contracts. The government has proposed to add the number of women working in the company when considering hiring contractors for its numerous projects. The plan is aimed at increasing the number ofwomen in the workforce to help revive the economy burdened by its ageing workforce.
An estimated ¥12 trillion ($117 billion) is spent by the central government on its public contracts, construction works, goods purchases and even services. With this huge amount, the bidding system employs a rigorous and strict process when selecting companies it does business with. Standards vary from the cost-competitiveness of the firm to its technical ability and advancement. But with the new plan, a certain factor will be added, which relates directly to the company’s human resources. By the next fiscal year, the government hopes to roll out its standards in choosing contractors for services, purchases and construction to give preference to those that encourage women to join their companies. After which, the government hopes to expand that standard to providers of public works by the following year. Of course, it’s not as simple as counting the number of women a company employs but the ratio of the women in the company will equal to a specific point, which will then be added to the points acquired from the other measures.
But companies, which have a high ratio of women in their payroll are not guaranteed the project immediately. Certain construction works that require technical difficulties and safety concerns would not be simply awarded to a company that has many female workers but does not have a good track record. In which case, the government will consider the costs and technology advantages of working with that firm and after it has shortlisted those that meet that criteria, the ratio of female workers will then be factored in for selection. While no final details have been set yet, the new guidelines are expected to be out by June of this year, in preparation for implementation next year.