Finding enough talent for Japan’s booming digital tech sector must be a national priority


Digital talent specialising in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are receiving up to four job offers any time they put a toe in the job market – and often when they don’t, according to recruitment experts Hays.

IoT including industrial IoT is one of the fastest growing sectors in Japan and can span anything from creating “smart” fridges and washing machines you can turn on with your mobile phone to large scale manufacturing applications that will revolutionise the industry here.

Talent at all levels are required for new and replacement roles. However, there is also hot demand for experienced mobile and web developers and big data specialists.

“We have only scratched the surface when it comes to what digital transformation can achieve and for a country like Japan, which has long been at the forefront of the high tech sector, the real challenge is finding enough people to fill the available jobs,” explains Marc Burrage, Managing Director of Hays in Japan.

“It’s a very exciting time to be working in the digital technology sector with innovation exploding on every front and we are seeing more young people drawn to working on the frontier of human innovation but it’s still not enough,” Marc says.

According to a study by the International Telecoms Union, 99.5 per cent of Japanese people aged 15 to 24 are “digital natives” – second only to South Korea, where the equivalent figure is 99.6 per cent.

Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics, mobile technologies and even cyber security are all areas of focus in Japan with local companies looking to build their presence domestically and internationally.

The Japanese Government is funding a pavilion at Interpol World 2017 in July to showcase the work of 10 local cyber security technology companies – the first time Japan has taken part in a global cyber security event of such significance.

At the Global Digital Summit held in Tokyo in May this year, the talk was of automated vehicles and aircraft for the transport industry here. And Japan’s three leading mobile providers recently announced they will start offering 5G mobile to customers by 2020 with a boom in self-driving technology and IoT tipped as a result.

“Companies in Japan are promoting digital technology as a career through seminars and events, more attractive work cultures and internal training and development. However, a national focus is needed to keep the talent pipeline building.”

“For the younger generation, the opportunity to work with constantly evolving technology, use their business English skills and access employer-funded further educational programs is proving of great appeal but we still more people to join the sector,” says Marc.

Other observations offered by Marc about the digital technology sector in Japan include:

1. “Network engineersmobile engineers and embedded engineersspecialising in IoT at all levels are on employers ‘most wanted’ list.”

2. “Companies are also hiring high potential junior IoT candidates they can train up to fill senior replacement roles.”

3. “Mobile engineers (both iPhone and Android) with Objective C/Swift skillsand knowledge as well as Java are probably in greatest demand right now. Web engineers, Java, C# as well as CSS3HTML5 also have their pick of jobs.”

4. “In the big data hiring space, data scientists and data analysts with skills and knowledge in SASSHadhoopInformatica and similar are highly sought after for e-commerce and financial technology roles.”

5. “For financial technology roles, candidates should ideally possess both strong Japanese and English language skills, a master’s degree from a recognised university plus have the appropriate technical skills and experience working in the financial technology sector, gaming or e-commerce arenas.”

6. “Employers would rather prefer local candidates with a deep knowledge of the national and workplace culture.”

7. “Pressure is building for employers to consider overseas candidates with niche technology skills. Such candidates are usually assisted with relocation cost but are employed on local terms.”

8. “Japan is a rich job market with many more jobs than candidates and we don’t see that changing anytime soon if at all.”

To find out more about the digital tech industry, please read our inside story of the sector in Japan here.

Contributed by Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.