The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Lanis Yarzab, Managing Director, Spring professional

Lanis Yarzab, Managing Director, Spring professional

Spring Professional is an international recruitment firm specializing in IT, engineering, property and construction, and supply chain and logistics industries in Asia.

For Managing Director Lanis Yarzab, having a clear-eyed understanding of your company’s needs—and knowing how to find the best-qualified candidates in a market with scarce talent—is the key to successful recruitment.

“Japan has a scarce market—it is short of candidates,” Yarzab says. “If you can identify the people that you want to hire, then the main challenges are usually processes within organizations.”

One of the first tasks a company needs to undertake, she says, is to define where the potential candidate will fit into the organization’s structure. A key question to ask is, “What problem will they solve as an employee?”

What’s more, the specific role of the new recruit will depend on the type of firm he or she is joining.

“If you’re bringing someone into a well-established company versus a startup, you need a different type of person. If you need someone to do a change management role, that’s very different compared to someone who is coaching a young and fresh team,” Yarzab adds.

In addition to finding the right person for the right company to fulfill the right role, organizations—especially those with an international corporate footprint—have to identify one or two key decision makers.

Especially in Japan, Yarzab says, decisions as to whom to hire are usually bogged down because of in-house recruitment processes that are not streamlined, or due to competing priorities across a company’s domestic and international concerns.

Yarzab is one of only a handful of women in executive positions in Japan, and a leader in business sectors that have historically seldom been represented by women. Having lived in the country for over 14 years, however, she is a vocal champion for diversity and for raising diversity awareness.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I’m all about diversity and inclusion—I’m kind of an evangelist within my industry and especially within my group on this,” she says.

“As you know, Spring Professional is a technical recruitment firm in areas that definitely lack women and minorities.”

To effect change and increase the participation of under-represented talent in these industries, Yarzab says company’s not only have to increase awareness of their in-house ratio for recruits, but also implement organizational structures—including diversity training programs—that are conducive to a diverse work environment.

“I would start with having full disclosure of gender labor rates within companies,” Yarzab says. “That would at least give us a starting point so that we know how companies are doing, and how balanced their workforces are.”

In addition, “I would like to see investment into diversity and inclusion programs, so that people and organizations can have the training and understanding of what they need to do before they start making changes—I think that would be a great starting point.”

Furthermore, a shift in mindsets needs to occur so that women, especially young ones who will become role models for future candidates, are not only administrators, as happens too often, but also have roles as technicians.

“By doing that,” she adds, “you are building a company where you’ve got female leaders. That might not solve the problem right now, but you’ll have role models for the future.”

Yarzab also strongly recommends that company compensation packages become gender-neutral, pointing out that in Japan and elsewhere, a significant pay gap between male and female employees still exists.

Looking to the future, Yarzab remains optimistic about the Japanese market. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games just around the corner—and leading to an increased demand for talented candidates—Yarzab believes Japan, more so than any other country, is capable of rising to the challenge.

“If any country could do it, it would definitely be Japan. Just look at the post World War II boom and how quickly the country recovered—no one expected that. Japan clearly has the spirit to get things done. So, yes, I’m very positive.”