updated 11 Oct 2011, 06:13
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Tue, Oct 11, 2011
The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network
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Job-secure singles most active in looking for a potential spouse

People with a secure job are more active than those without in their efforts to search for a partner, according to a survey by a team at Tokyo University.

The university's Institute of Social Science sought to shed light on changes in work and home life. Its survey found that the degree to which workers actively seek out a potential spouse - a process known as konkatsu - depends not only on their eagerness to marry, but also on whether they have a permanent work contract.

About 3,600 men and women aged 22 to 42 nationwide were surveyed between January and March last year.

The survey found that out of the workers surveyed, 800 were both employed and not in a relationship. The number excludes self-employed and freelance workers.

Of the workers with secure jobs, 53 per cent of male and 51 per cent of female permanent employees said they were actively seeking a partner, including asking friends and acquaintances to introduce them to someone and participating in matchmaking parties.

On the other hand, only 32 per cent of male and 44 per cent of female non-permanent workers, including part-time and temporary workers, were similarly engaged.

It is generally thought that workers with permanent contracts have little free time to spend seeking a partner because they tend to work long hours compared with non-permanent employees. But Associate Prof. Akane Murakami, a member of the survey team, said this is not always the case, and there are other factors to consider.

"Male non-permanent workers who don't earn a stable income may be reluctant to seek a wife due to established ideas about gender roles, which hold that a man is supposed to bring home enough money to support both himself and his spouse," Murakami said.

Since the standard methods of finding a partner can be expensive, such as going on dates and to matchmaking parties, Murakami said permanent employees, who usually earn more than non-permanent workers, are thought to be able to more easily engage in such activities.

"Narrowing the [job security] gap between permanent and nonpermanent workers by increasing [the latter group's] employment stability could lead to more single people deciding to seek marriage and increasing their efforts [to find a partner]," Murakami said.

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