Four tips to survive the “War for Talent” in Japan


Whilst demand in Japan for bilingual talent is increasing amid globalisation and the forthcoming 2020 Olympics, the continued shortage of talent in the country is becoming more impactful says recruiting experts Hays.

Covering the topic in the recently released Hays Journal Issue 13, Marc Burrage, Managing Director of Hays Japan explored in greater detail some of the challenges that businesses are facing in Japan currently. “Japan is a demographic time bomb with a shrinking population. There is simply not enough talent to go around.” Marc adds further by revealing that “the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide uncovered findings that show Japan’s salary ‘increase’ lags behind in Asia, and across many high skilled roles and industries.”

The ability to overcome skills shortages and secure top talent will be critical to business success now and in the future for businesses in Japan.

Highlighted below are four key points that identify the main areas of focus for employers to attract appropriate and best-skilled candidates.

1. Be flexible

Consider recruiting contracting and temporary workers. Temporary staff in many cases, are more engaged than permanent workers and can be released at short notice, depending on the needs of your business and/or market. For example, they can be used to supplement your workforce during busy periods or as you continue your search to find a permanent replacement for the role they are fulfilling.

2. Go above and beyond to land exceptional talent

Invest in outstanding candidates even if it means overpaying the candidate a salary that has originally been allocated. Treat it as an investment for the company and the future based on the qualities of the candidate concerned in the midst of the growing skills shortage in the country.

3. Attract talent from overseas

Employers are not fully utilising the opportunities available by employing qualified foreign hires. Diversifying their workforce can go some way to alleviating the talent shortage that businesses are currently facing. As revealed in the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide, Japan remains one of the least culturally diverse countries in Asia with foreign employees accounting for 9 per cent only of the workforce in the country. More can be and should be done.

4. Where do you see the candidate in five years’ time

Candidates will want a role in a stable organisation with a strong pipeline of work, a solid reputation and a good career progression plan. Tell the candidate where they should expect to be within the organisation in three/five years time based on the development and training opportunities offered by your organisation.

Hays Journal Issue 13 was released in May this year and is a bi-annual publication providing insight and news for HR, recruitment professionals and hiring managers on the ever-changing world of work.You can download the latest issue here:

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