The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The global job market and talent pool are constantly changing, and developments in each industry can have an effect on the skills required of candidates. On January 17 Robert Walters Japan held an event to celebrate the launch of its 20th annual Salary Survey, at which they shared recruitment trends seen in 2018 and made predictions for the year to come. “Robert Walters was the first recruitment company to produce a comprehensive overview of salaries and recruitment trends across the world,” said Jeremy Sampson, managing director of Robert Walters Japan, as he opened the seminar. 

The latest Salary Survey is based on the analysis of perma­nent, temporary, and contracted placements made by Robert Walters Japan during 2018 and predictions for the next 12 months. “Our salary surveys have become a widely used source of infor­mation for both clients and candidates in the markets in which we operate.”

Starting with some of the key global trends observed in 2018, Sampson noted that global demand for digital and tech skills continued to accele­rate. “Digital transformation was prevalent across many industries, leading to a sustained demand for develop­ment and digital specialists. Digitalization also remained a key trend, with specialists in cybersecurity, Big Data, and artificial intelligence highly sought after.” He added that blockchain and crypto­currency were growth areas, and that startups utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence continued to source talent—a great develop­ment for candidates looking to get work on the cutting edge of technology.

Noting that the talent pool in Japan is small, Sampson talked about trends and requirements in 2018 surrounding candidate skills. “Many companies focused on recruiting professionals familiar with global business and proficient in both English and Japanese, and, as seen in previous years, supply this year will continue to fall short of demand.”

Sampson revealed that the job openings-to-applicant ratio in Japan is rising, and in 2018 it reached 1.6:1, which marked a 44-year high. Given these conditions, Robert Walters Japan observed that more than 50 percent of its IT client hires were non-Japanese. In an interview with The ACCJ Journal after the event, Sampson said: “There is a reduction in clerical work and positions, and increasing demand in the high-tech automation areas. This is placing an even greater strain on supply of pro­fessionals who are technically skilled.”

Sampson joined Robert Walters Japan in 2006, and in 2009 was appointed to manage the newly formed sales and marketing industrial team. Then, in 2013, he was named director of the commerce and industry team, which he rapidly grew into nine specialized teams. And, in August 2018, he was appointed managing director of Robert Walters Japan.

During our post-event discussion, Sampson talked about his experience at Robert Walters and how it prepared him for the role of managing director. “I come in with 13 years’ experience at Robert Walters Japan. For the past several years, I have success­fully been building teams and building our business. In particular, I established our manufacturing recruitment prac­tice, which makes up one of the largest parts of our business here in Japan,” he explained.

“We are one of the longest-existing global recruitment companies in Japan. And since I joined 13 years ago, we have been recognized as the number-one foreign company in the market. We still are today. That is something I am tasked with continuing.”

Megan Casson is a staff writer at Custom Media for The ACCJ Journal.