Japan’s Top 10 Talent Trends for 2016

January 13, 20168:27 am1291 views

Japan’s job market is expected to grapple with a severe skill shortage in 2016 as the economy stabilises, making candidates feel more confident and comfortable about moving jobs. Bi-lingual candidates with strong industry experience, automotive engineers, and sales talents with skills in big data will be highly sought after.

“HR managers will rack their brains to work out solutions, such as signing exclusive contracts with employees, resort to RPO services and offering heavy pay perks to secure talents,” said Marc Burrage, managing director of Hays in Japan, “The battle for strong candidates will turn out to be cut throat in 2016 with high-calibre job seekers receiving multiple offers.”

Employers will face pressure to increase wages to retain or attract first-choice candidates and the salaries are likely to be raised to a level higher than their original expectations.

Multinational companies will also increasingly pay attention to culture match as a way to facilitate communication and execution. Also some companies will give culture match a priority over job skills to ensure a smooth implementation of their local strategies.

“In 2016, you can also expect to see more opportunities for female engineers, thanks to the government initiative and an increasing number of openings in digital marketing,” added Marc. “In some occupations, there will be a severe shortage of talent, resulting in an increased demand for high-skilled non-Japanese specialists.”

Here are the top 10 talent trends for 2016 to be witnessed by the Japanese workplaces:

  1. Severe skill shortage: A stable economy will make candidates feel more comfortable about moving. However, it will still be a job market incredibly short of high-skilled candidates. Bi-lingual candidates with strong industry experience in each specialism are rare assets. The gap between the skills companies need, and the skills available on the current market is still large.
  1. Competition for top-class candidates: The strongest candidates out there are increasingly getting multiple offers. If a company moves slowly, it will likely lose out in the battle for talent, as successful companies are moving very quickly on in-demand candidates. Companies may need to increase salaries to a level higher than their original expectations to secure first-choice candidates. Due to shortages in certain areas such as automotive engineering, employers will be more likely to consider retainers, exclusive contracts, as well as RPO solutions to win attention from preferred recruiters.
  1. Cultural match: Clients are becoming more and more focused on cultural match in addition to skills. Some companies will give cultural match a priority over job skills to ensure a smooth implementation of their local strategies.

See: Bilingual Professionals in Japan Expect Pay Rise of At Least 10%

  1. More opportunities for female engineers: As a positive impact from ‘womenomics’, female engineers in the automotive sector are sought after these days, especially in the segment called tier-1 supplier industry where male engineers are more dominant because the companies are able to offer more higher-paid and management positions to capable female workers so as to be treated favourably when seeking government contracts.
  1. New hires by banks: The hires by banks will see a new trend in 2016. In the previous years, financial institutions hired more fixed-income professionals, but they will focus on hiring equity, investment banking, and corporate finance professionals in 2016. New hires will include equity research analysts, equity sales and equity trading managers as well as bankers dealing with mergers and acquisition deals.
  1. Demand for high-skilled non-Japanese specialists: High-skilled occupations have been grappling with severe shortage and some of the vacancies will continue to be hard to fill. Further efforts by the government such as extending visas will bring in high skilled talent from abroad. Amid a deepened globalisation drive, businesses will continue to seek high-skilled non-Japanese workers in 2016.
  1. Digital marketing: As the growth of digital marketing continues to grow in 2016, more openings in this sector will be created as employers strive to increase market share by making a better use of the latest information technologies. With a huge growth in this area, a soaring number of new vacancies will arise, both on the agency side and with companies focusing on consumer and retail businesses. Some B2B employers are also looking for qualified talent to strengthen their digital marketing team. Skills required include content management, SEO/SEM, analytics and social media.
  1. Big data skills in demand: Strong talent to capitalise on big data technologies to boost sales will be highly sought after. Professionals with a fair command of business intelligence software are targeted by major global IT corporations. Although hiring processes have not been changed, the pace of hiring is being accelerated and flexible remuneration packages will be offered to those professionals with a proven track record.
  1. Hiring of junior candidates: The demand for hiring junior, bilingual candidates will continue due to the big shortage in this age group. Employers are quite flexible in hiring people from different backgrounds, and are willing to spend time to train them. For example, an employer may hire someone with an operations background before improving their communication skills to develop them into eligible sales people in the future.
  1. More HR involvement in hiring process: Hiring processes will be widely observed in 2016 as HR professionals take a more cautious stance on manpower distribution. It will take a longer time to complete the hiring process for back-office employees as HR managers gauge the necessity of the in-house position. They will normally spend some time before making a decision on whether to hire an office administrator or just outsource the work.

Image credit: tokyotimes.com

Also read: Top 5 Jobs for Multi-Skilled Professionals in Japan in 2016

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