Akasaka Azabu

Recruitment practices in Japan
  • Date Published: April 30, 2024

Japan’s job market is dynamic and evolving, with unique recruitment practices that reflect the country’s cultural factors, employment laws, and employment trends. Understanding the hiring process and job search in Japan is crucial for both employers and job seekers. From the role of recruitment agencies to the challenges faced in hiring, this article explores the intricacies of the Japanese job market.

When it comes to recruitment practices, Japan has witnessed several notable trends. The demand for technical talent has surged, driven by the country’s technology-driven economy. Diversity and inclusion have also become important factors, with a focus on increasing the representation of women and minority groups. Hiring foreign workers has gained momentum to address skill shortages, while the use of data-driven recruitment practices and emphasizing soft skills have become key priorities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Japan’s job market is influenced by cultural factors, employment laws, and employment trends.
  • The demand for technical talent is rising due to Japan’s technology-driven economy.
  • Efforts are being made to promote diversity and inclusion in the Japanese workforce.
  • Hiring foreign workers is a strategy to address skill shortages in Japan.
  • Data-driven recruitment practices and soft skills are gaining importance.

As the job market in Japan continues to evolve, it is essential for employers and job seekers to stay informed about the latest recruitment practices. Adapting to hiring challenges, leveraging recruitment agencies, understanding cultural nuances, and keeping up with the employment laws are key to success in the Japanese job market.

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Increased Demand for Technical Talent

Japan is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, particularly in the fields of technology and engineering. This shortage can be attributed to an aging population and declining birth rates. Surveys conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry revealed that approximately 83% of Japanese companies reported a shortage of skilled workers in 2021. With Japan’s movement towards a more technology-driven economy, the demand for technical talent is expected to continue to rise.

Demand for technical talent in Japan

In November 2021, the number of job openings in Japan reached a record high of 1.67 million, further reinforcing the need for skilled professionals across various industries. This surge in job opportunities reflects the growing demand for technical expertise in Japan’s evolving economy.

Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

Japan has recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and has been taking steps to promote it. Historically, women and minority groups have been underrepresented in the Japanese workforce. However, there has been a growing focus on increasing the participation of women in the workforce, with surveys indicating a gradual increase from 43.7% in 2015 to 46.9% in 2021.

To foster a diverse and inclusive work environment, companies in Japan are implementing flexible work policies. This includes offering remote work options, enabling employees to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively. Flexible work policies not only attract diverse talent but also help retain experienced professionals who may require alternative work arrangements.

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” – Malcolm Forbes

By embracing diversity and inclusion, companies in Japan can benefit from the unique perspectives and ideas that diverse talent brings to the table. This leads to enhanced innovation, problem-solving, and overall organizational success.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives in Japanese Companies

  • Establishment of diversity and inclusion committees to drive the implementation of initiatives.
  • Setting diversity targets and regularly monitoring progress towards achieving them.
  • Providing inclusivity training and workshops to educate employees on the importance of diversity and unconscious biases.
  • Creating affinity groups or employee resource groups to foster a sense of belonging and support for underrepresented communities.
  • Implementing mentorship and sponsorship programs to support the professional development of diverse talent.

These initiatives aim to create a more inclusive environment where every employee can thrive and contribute their unique perspectives and skills.

The Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion

Embracing diversity and inclusion in the workforce offers several benefits:

Benefits Description
Enhanced Creativity and Innovation A diverse workforce brings together a wide range of experiences, knowledge, and perspectives, fostering creativity and promoting innovative solutions.
Improved Problem-Solving When diverse individuals collaborate, they bring different approaches and ideas to problem-solving, leading to more effective and comprehensive solutions.
Increased Employee Engagement Employees feel valued and included when their voices are heard, resulting in higher levels of engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.
Broadened Market Perspective A diverse workforce can better understand and connect with a wide range of customers, enabling companies to adapt and cater to various market segments.

Diversity and Inclusion

By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, companies in Japan are not only creating a fair and inclusive work environment but also gaining a competitive edge in today’s global business landscape.

Hiring Foreign Workers: Filling Skill Gaps in Japan

Japan has recognized the need to attract more foreign talent to bridge the skill gaps in its local workforce. To facilitate this, the government introduced a new visa category for foreign workers with specialist skills in 2019, making it easier for companies to hire them.

This visa category for foreign workers has opened up opportunities for companies to tap into a diverse pool of talent from around the world. It has helped address the shortage of skilled professionals in various sectors, such as technology, engineering, healthcare, and IT.

The efforts to attract foreign workers have yielded positive results, with data from the Ministry of Justice revealing a record high number of foreign workers in Japan. In 2020, the country saw a significant increase, reaching 1.82 million foreign workers. This surge in foreign workforce availability has contributed to the growth and development of industries across Japan.

As Japan continues to embrace the benefits of hiring foreign workers, efforts are being made to streamline the visa application process and facilitate the settlement of foreign workers in the country. These initiatives aim to create a supportive environment for foreign talent, ensuring a smooth transition and integration into the Japanese workforce.

Advantages of Hiring Foreign Workers in Japan:

  • Diverse perspectives and experiences that enhance innovation and creativity
  • Access to specialized skills and knowledge from different global markets
  • Increased cultural diversity, promoting a more inclusive and multicultural work environment
  • Addressing skill shortages in specific industries or occupations
  • Contributing to the growth and development of the Japanese economy

Visa Category for Foreign Workers in Japan:

Visa Type Description
Highly Skilled Professional Visa (HSP) For foreign professionals with exceptional skills in specialized fields
Specified Skilled Worker Visa For foreign workers with intermediate to high-level skills in specific industries
Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa For foreign workers engaged in specialized professional work
Technical Intern Training Visa For foreign workers participating in technical intern training programs

These visa categories offer flexibility for companies to hire foreign workers based on their specific skill requirements and provide various options for professionals seeking work opportunities in Japan.

The greater emphasis on hiring foreign workers not only fills skill gaps but also contributes to Japan’s global competitiveness. By embracing diverse talent, Japan can enhance its position in key industries, foster innovation, and continue to thrive in an evolving global economy.

Increasing Use of Data-Driven Recruitment Practices

Data-driven recruitment practices have become increasingly popular in Japan in recent years. As per a survey conducted by recruitment firm Adecco, around 40% of Japanese companies are now utilizing AI tools for recruitment purposes. These advanced tools leverage artificial intelligence and data analytics to analyze resumes, social media profiles, and other relevant data sources. The objective is to identify the most qualified and suitable candidates for job openings.

By employing AI tools, companies can automate various aspects of the recruitment process, such as resume screening and interview scheduling. This automation not only saves time and resources but also helps ensure a more efficient and unbiased hiring process.

AI tools provide recruiters with valuable insights and assist in making data-driven decisions. These tools are capable of identifying patterns and trends in large volumes of applicant data, enabling recruiters to make more informed judgments about potential hires.

Furthermore, AI tools help organizations manage and organize candidate data more effectively. The tools can streamline the applicant tracking system, giving recruiters quick access to the information they need and facilitating smoother candidate communication and evaluation.

Using data-driven recruitment practices and AI tools allows companies to tap into a wider pool of qualified candidates and increases the chances of finding the best fit for a given position.

As the job market in Japan becomes increasingly competitive, data-driven recruitment practices play a crucial role in helping companies identify top talent efficiently and effectively. By harnessing the power of AI tools, recruiters can streamline their processes, improve decision-making accuracy, and ultimately attract and retain the best candidates for their organization.

Emphasis on Soft Skills

While technical skills continue to hold high value in Japan’s job market, there has been a growing emphasis on soft skills. Employers are actively seeking candidates who possess strong communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. In fact, good communication skills are considered a crucial attribute by approximately 50% of Japanese companies, as highlighted in a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

The ability to effectively collaborate in a team and adapt to changing work environments is also highly sought after by employers. In a dynamic and rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptability is valued as it enables individuals to acclimate to new circumstances and contribute to the success of their teams.

Key Soft Skills Employers Value in Japan:

  • Communication skills: Strong verbal and written communication skills enable effective collaboration and understanding within teams and with clients or customers.
  • Problem-solving skills: The ability to analyze complex situations, identify challenges, and develop creative solutions is highly valued by employers.
  • Interpersonal skills: Good interpersonal skills allow individuals to build positive relationships, resolve conflicts, and work harmoniously with colleagues.
  • Adaptability: The capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, learn new skills, and take on new responsibilities is key to navigating Japan’s dynamic job market.

Employers understand that employees with strong soft skills contribute to a positive work environment, effective teamwork, and successful business outcomes. Thus, job seekers who can demonstrate a blend of technical expertise and well-developed soft skills will be highly sought after in Japan’s competitive job market.

For a successful career in Japan, it is important to leverage both technical and soft skills to stand out and secure desirable job opportunities. Enhancing your soft skills through continuous learning and professional development can provide a competitive edge in the Japanese job market.

Hiring Challenges in Japan

Companies in Japan face various hiring challenges that can hinder recruitment and talent acquisition. These challenges include:

  1. Talent shortage: A significant issue faced by many employers in Japan is the scarcity of qualified candidates. The demand for skilled professionals often exceeds the available supply, leading to intense competition among companies for the best talent.
  2. Lack of work experience: Another challenge is the limited work experience among job seekers, particularly fresh graduates. Many companies prefer candidates with practical experience, making it harder for individuals with little to no work history to secure employment.
  3. Competition from other employers: With a vast array of industries and organizations in Japan, employers must compete against one another to attract and retain top talent. Companies are continuously striving to differentiate themselves and offer compelling reasons for candidates to choose their organization over others.
  4. Insufficient benefits: Japanese companies are often criticized for offering inadequate benefits packages, especially when compared to those provided by international employers or startups. This can make it challenging to attract and retain high-caliber candidates who may be seeking more extensive benefits and perks.

To address these hiring challenges, companies in Japan employ various strategies:

  • Partnering with search firms or recruitment agencies to tap into their networks and expertise in sourcing candidates.
  • Leveraging internal referrals by incentivizing employees to recommend qualified candidates from their networks.
  • Promoting internal development by providing opportunities for skill enhancement and career progression to existing employees.
  • Focusing on employer branding to improve their reputation as an employer of choice and attract top talent.

By implementing these strategies, companies in Japan aim to mitigate the challenges they face and successfully recruit the right candidates for their organizations.

Case Study: Talent Shortage in the IT Sector

“The talent shortage in the IT sector is a pressing challenge for many Japanese companies. With the rapid growth of the technology industry and increasing digitalization across sectors, the demand for skilled IT professionals has surged. However, the supply of qualified candidates has not kept pace with this demand, resulting in a significant shortage of talent. To address this issue, companies are offering competitive salaries, flexible work arrangements, and opportunities for professional development to attract and retain IT professionals in a highly competitive job market.”
– Hiroshi Nakamura, IT Recruitment Specialist

Challenges Solutions
Talent shortage Offer competitive salaries
Provide attractive benefits packages
Invest in training and upskilling programs
Lack of work experience Offer internships and apprenticeships
Provide on-the-job training programs
Partner with educational institutions to bridge the skills gap
Competition from other employers Focus on employer branding
Highlight unique company culture and values
Offer opportunities for career advancement and growth
Insufficient benefits Reevaluate and enhance benefits packages
Align with industry standards
Offer flexible work arrangements

Salary Trends in Japan

The salary trends in Japan provide valuable insights into the expected compensation increase for employees in the country. On average, employees in Japan can expect a salary increment of 11%. However, it’s important to note that this data does not include allowances, stock options, bonuses, or additional benefits.

For a more detailed understanding of salary benchmarks across different job positions and sectors, refer to the table below:

Job Position Sector Salary Benchmark
Software Engineer Information Technology $80,000 – $100,000
Marketing Manager Marketing $70,000 – $90,000
Financial Analyst Finance $60,000 – $80,000
Sales Representative Sales $50,000 – $70,000
Graphic Designer Creative $40,000 – $60,000

These salary benchmarks are provided by RGF-owned data and are subject to variations depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, and industry demand.

As the Japanese job market evolves, staying informed about salary trends is crucial for both employers and employees to make informed decisions regarding compensation and job offers.

Most In-demand Jobs in Japan

Japan’s job market offers a range of exciting and in-demand opportunities across various industries. Let’s explore some of the hottest jobs that are currently in high demand:

1. Smart Manufacturing

With Japan’s push towards industry 4.0 and automation, professionals skilled in smart manufacturing technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and IoT are highly sought after.

2. Digital Technology

The rapid digitization of businesses in Japan has created a significant demand for professionals in digital technology. Job roles such as data analysts, cybersecurity experts, software engineers, and digital marketers are in high demand.

3. E-commerce

As more consumers embrace online shopping, e-commerce companies in Japan are actively hiring professionals with skills in digital marketing, online merchandising, logistics, and customer service.

4. Financial Services

The financial services sector in Japan offers a range of opportunities for professionals in banking, insurance, investment management, and financial technology. Roles in risk management, compliance, and fintech are particularly in demand.

5. Medical R&D

Japan’s aging population and increasing focus on healthcare innovation have led to a surge in demand for professionals in medical research and development. Jobs in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, clinical research, and medical device development are highly sought after.

6. Media, Advertising, and Entertainment

The media, advertising, and entertainment industries in Japan are constantly evolving, creating a demand for talent in areas such as digital marketing, content creation, advertising, broadcasting, and entertainment management.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in these in-demand fields or exploring other exciting job opportunities in Japan, it’s important to stay updated with the latest industry trends and develop the necessary skills to stand out in the competitive job market.

Key Qualities Employers Look for in Talent in Japan

When it comes to hiring talent in Japan, employers prioritize certain key qualities that make candidates stand out. These qualities include relevant knowledge and experience, culture fit, adaptability, commitment, and agility.

Hard Skills:

  • Industry knowledge and experience: Employers value candidates who have a solid understanding of their specific industry and have relevant experience in the field.
  • Functional mastery and expertise: Possessing specialized skills and expertise in a specific function or domain is highly sought after.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language: With globalization, employers in Japan appreciate candidates who can communicate effectively in a foreign language, such as English.
  • Technical skills: Mastery of technical skills relevant to the job role is crucial, especially in technology-driven industries.

Soft Skills:

  • Communication and presentation: Strong oral and written communication skills, along with the ability to present ideas effectively, are highly valued.
  • Task-focused: Employers look for candidates who are detail-oriented, organized, and can effectively manage time and prioritize tasks.
  • Good team player: Collaboration and teamwork are key in the Japanese work culture, so employers seek individuals who can work well in teams.
  • Problem-solving: Employers value candidates who can analyze problems, think critically, and come up with creative solutions.
  • Adaptable and flexible: In a rapidly changing business environment, adaptability and flexibility are vital qualities for success.
  • Innovation and creativity: Employers appreciate candidates who can think outside the box, generate new ideas, and contribute to innovation.
  • Accountability and responsibility: Taking ownership of tasks, meeting deadlines, and demonstrating a sense of responsibility are highly valued.

Employers in Japan use various hiring solutions to attract top talent. These include partnering with search firms or recruitment agencies, leveraging internal referrals, promoting internal development, and strengthening employer branding.


The recruitment practices in Japan are constantly evolving to meet the changing dynamics of the job market. With the demand for technical talent on the rise, organizations are actively seeking skilled professionals to drive their technology-driven economy. The shortage of local talent has prompted companies to focus on attracting foreign workers, leading to the creation of new visa categories and streamlined processes.

Furthermore, there is a growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the Japanese workforce. Efforts are being made to increase the representation of women and minority groups, reflected in the implementation of flexible work policies and remote work options. These initiatives aim to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment.

Data-driven recruitment practices are also gaining prominence in Japan. With the use of AI tools, companies can analyze a vast amount of data and identify the top talent for their organizations. Additionally, soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and adaptability are being highly valued alongside technical skills.

In conclusion, the recruitment landscape in Japan is experiencing a shift towards innovative practices that cater to the demands of the job market. Companies are adapting their strategies to attract and retain top talent, while also fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. As the job market continues to evolve, it is crucial for organizations to stay abreast of the latest hiring trends and practices to remain competitive in Japan’s dynamic job market.


What are the key recruitment practices in Japan?

The key recruitment practices in Japan include a demand for technical talent, focus on diversity and inclusion, emphasis on hiring foreign workers, increasing use of data-driven recruitment practices, and the emphasis on soft skills.

Is there a shortage of skilled workers in Japan?

Yes, Japan is currently facing a shortage of skilled workers, especially in the technology and engineering fields.

How is Japan promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Japan is making efforts to increase the percentage of women in the workforce and implementing flexible work policies, including remote work options, to attract and retain diverse talent.

Is Japan hiring more foreign workers?

Yes, Japan has been looking to attract more foreign talent to fill skill gaps in the local workforce and has introduced a new visa category for foreign workers with specialist skills.

Are data-driven recruitment practices popular in Japan?

Yes, approximately 40% of Japanese companies are using AI tools for recruitment purposes, which analyze resumes, social media profiles, and other data sources to identify top talent.

Are soft skills important in the Japanese job market?

Yes, there has been an increasing emphasis on soft skills in the Japanese job market, including strong communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.

What are the hiring challenges in Japan?

Hiring challenges in Japan include a talent shortage, lack of candidates with necessary work experience, increasing competition from other employers, and insufficient benefits to attract talent.

What are the salary trends in Japan?

Salary trends in Japan show that the average salary increment offered to employees in Japan is 11%.

Which industries are actively hiring in Japan?

The most actively hiring industries in Japan include smart manufacturing, digital technology, e-commerce, financial services, medical R&D, and more.

What qualities do employers look for in talent in Japan?

Employers in Japan prioritize relevant knowledge and experience, culture fit, adaptability, commitment, and agility when looking for talent. They also value hard skills such as industry knowledge and language proficiency, and soft skills such as communication and problem-solving abilities.

How are companies in Japan adapting their hiring strategies?

In response to hiring challenges, companies in Japan are partnering with search firms or recruitment agencies, leveraging internal referrals, promoting internal development, and focusing on employer branding.

– Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry
– Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare
– Adecco
– Ministry of Justice
– RGF-owned data

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