• Recruiting

Job Search: Japanese employment market trends for international professionals

For the past several years the Japanese economy has, on the whole, added jobs to its economy. Despite growth in jobs, the working age population did not enter the labor market as expected.


Large companies continue to focus hiring efforts towards attracting new college graduates. They’re a scarce resource given Japan’s aging population. This makes it harder for smaller companies to find and attract young talent.


Turnover for all industries is holding steady at about 10%. A gap opens in the labor market as smaller employers cannot attract young employees. There are not enough mid-career employees looking for jobs to go around.


This gap then is where international professionals can find themselves in high demand.  Here are a few employment market trends international professionals should keep in mind:

Information Technology:

Compared to the US or Europe, compensation is less and hours are longer. If you have an in-demand skill, you have a better chance of getting a job at a smaller company.  Smaller company jobs are harder to find because they compete against major firms.


Education will continue to be a basic social need, like safety and healthcare. It should prove to be resistant to broader economic shock over time. The government is expanding English education,  so the demand for instructors will grow.

Service Industry:

The service industry has great potential.  The travel industry will return to pre-coronavirus levels. Healthcare will develop treatments.  As the population ages, there will be more need for professionals in service fields.

How to Get Ahead

Japanese language skills will often make or break a job application. They never hurt your chances. Companies working with the public need higher level Japanese skills.  Communicative and confident is more important than perfect.  Smaller companies worry about supporting employees who don’t have functional Japanese.  Many HR managers don’t speak foreign languages, so this is particularly true. 


The best advantage in the current labor market is to register with a job placement company, like Link Japan Careers.  A job placement company’s business is to connect companies of all sizes with applicants. They are often the first to hear about new job openings.  If you register with them, you’ll be one of the first they call with new job leads. 


They can also help you with the application process, like making a rirekisho, shokumukeirekisho, jiko PR and more.  The placement company often knows the special points that employers are looking for.  This will help you pass your interview.


Finally, their services are usually free. For more information see the article Working with a recruiting agency.


The labor market in Japan may be challenging for international professionals in the short term. Yet, we see segments in the Japanese labor market that are great opportunities for job seekers.