The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


Bilingual recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Japan K.K. has announced the results of its Global Salary Survey 2016, which shows employment trends in 24 countries.


Strong hiring activity across Japanese and foreign-owned companies
With steadily improving opinions about Japan’s economic outlook, active hiring continued, particularly among leading companies. At the same time, Japanese professionals, previously cautious about changing jobs, were actively seeking new roles.

Demand for bilingual professionals in retail and consumer goods
Bilingual professionals were increasingly in demand as the number of global companies entering Japan grew. Further, the number of tourists visiting Japan reached an all-time high, prompting companies involved in retail and hospitality to secure more staff. Demand for Chinese-speaking retail and sales professionals also increased.

Higher demand for IT professionals in new areas of business
The IT-related jobs market remained strong as companies continued their investments in IT. Due to an increasing focus on security, demand for specialists in all areas of network and software security increased, in addition to demand for IT professionals in new business areas, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and big data.

Greater shortage of engineers in manufacturing
Hiring demand grew stronger in many areas of the manufacturing industry. While there had been a shortage of engineers for some time, in 2015 their services were even more difficult to secure. There was also a shortage of professionals in sales and supply chain roles.


Robust hiring activity is expected to continue throughout 2016, especially among employers seeking bilingual professionals. But there will be some significant variations among industries in the salary increases offered to job movers during the year.

The increase is expected to be less than 5 percent in the retail and consumer sectors, while higher increases of 5 to 10 percent are expected in the healthcare and financial services sectors. The highest rises, up to 20 percent, will be seen for key engineering, sales, and supply chain specialists in the industrial sector, as well as for the most in-demand security and data-oriented IT talent.

Talent shortage grows as vacancies–available local talent gap widens
With Japanese fluency required for most jobs, opportunities are limited for expats who do not speak Japanese. The declining domestic population coupled with a younger generation of less career-focused jobseekers means the talent shortage will worsen.

Ongoing shortage of manufacturing industry professionals
Active hiring will continue in the manufacturing industry, including automotive- and parts-makers. Besides the shortage of electrical, electronic, and mechanical engineers, demand will continue to grow for engineers with experience in the consumer electronics and telecoms industries to develop such next-generation vehicles as connected and driverless cars. We also expect to see stronger competition for application and sales engineers.

Greater demand for a wide range of IT specialists
Demand will remain high among social media and gaming employers. In addition to specialists in information security, cloud services and IoT, demand for data scientists, analysts, and consultants is also expected to increase in response to increasing demand for processing and interpreting large amounts of data.

Experienced bilingual HR specialists sought
As companies expand headcount, hiring talent acquisition specialists and internal recruiters has become increasingly important. Such individuals will be in particularly short supply in the financial services sector.