Japan’s top 10 talent trends for 2017

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Japanese companies in the technology industry will have to offer generous compensation packages to attract qualified professionals in 2017 as the rapid growth of the industry has driven huge demand for talent in an already candidate short market. This is just one of the top 10 talent trends for 2017, according to recruiting experts Hays.

“2017 will see a number of new roles created that will support the development and production of new technologies in Japan,” said Marc Burrage, Managing Director of Hays in Japan. “In some hot areas such as automatic driving and artificial intelligence, employers will face a severe talent shortage and will scramble for qualified candidates in a limited talent pool.”

The rise of the technology industry in Japan is driven by many companies seeking to develop new technologies that will dramatically change the lifestyle of people not just in Japan, but across the world.

Engineers and researchers in the fields of robotics will be in high demand as multinational companies look for local talent to align with their headquarters in the United States and Europe to develop new products.

Hays also finds that bilingual candidates will continue to be in high demand as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics looms closer. The tourism and retail industries will be preparing in advance by increasing their hiring in 2017 for customer service candidates.

As Japan continues to face a huge gap between the skills needed by employers and the skills available in the market, “employers are fully aware of the job market situation,” reports Marc. “Pressure won’t abate in 2017 and companies will continue to compete to secure candidates due to Japan’s relentless talent mismatch.”

“It’s highly expected companies will face pressure to fill vacant positions with just local professionals,” said Marc. “In certain sectors such as IT and finance, organisations may have to look for overseas candidates to meet the rising demand for niche skills such as financial planning analysis and web development.”

Hays’ top 10 talent trends for 2017:

1. Severe talent mismatch: Japan received a score of 9.8 for “talent mismatch” in the 2016 Hays Global Skills Index, which showed there was a significant gap between the skills needed by businesses and the skills available in the job market. This trend will continue in 2017 with employers scrambling to secure their preferred candidates.

2. Bilingual candidates in high demand: In order to provide valued analysis and insights to key stakeholders, bilingual candidates will continue to be a hot commodity in 2017. Many companies are actively looking for bilingual candidates capable of communicating at a high level to present a clearer picture of local market conditions.

3. Problem-solving skills: Candidates with a strong track record in building successful stakeholder relationships and winning trust from customers will be targeted by companies to enhance corporate performance, particularly in the technology, consumer and manufacturing industries.

4. Digital era
: The soaring penetration of new media and technology has created a huge demand for candidates with digital experience. Companies understand the importance of having sales and marketing managers who can maximise digital media platforms to promote their products and services.

5. Skills development
: Junior candidates in 2017 will show keen interest in joining technology firms and e-commerce companies since they believe employers in these fields can help them acquire much-needed skills to pave their future career prospects. Companies will also need to map out new strategies to retain capable professionals after they accumulate enough experience and before they consider switching employers.

6. Flexibility of job seeking
: Mid-career candidates will become less picky on what industry they would like to work in and are open to working in a multitude of sectors. Amid expectations that the Internet will hugely redraw the economic landscape, mid-level candidates are prioritising skills development and garnering digital experience over career progression within a single industry or with a single employer.

7. Solutions selling: Sales professionals will continue to be in high demand in 2017. However, candidates should be aware that many companies are undertaking more rigorous recruitment processes. Sales candidates who have built themselves a strong network and have the capability of creating new sales channels to expand market share for companies are likely to receive multiple offers because they are viewed as a rare asset in the Japanese job market.

8. Shortage of HR business partners: 2017 will see a number of companies add business partners to their HR functions to improve operations. This will see mid-level HR business partners in high demand for companies operating in consumer goods, professional services, finance and manufacturing industries. Due to a candidate short market, competition to attract talent will be intense as the role itself is still relatively new in Japan.

9. Olympics factor: As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics draws closer, demand for customer service professionals will continue to increase, particularly for those that are bilingual. The tourism industry will release a large number of vacancies onto the market in 2017 as its felt candidates will have enough time to become suitably experienced and qualified come 2020.

10. Booming new technologies: IT specialists will be in high demand as companies upgrade their systems to optimise business structures and enhance management efficiency. The rapid growth of new technologies such as automatic driving, artificial intelligence and robotics will ratchet up pressure on the already candidate-short market as companies find it increasingly difficult to obtain high-skilled professionals to support local development and production.

To find out more about Hays, visit their website: https://www.hays.co.jp/en/