Kicking Goals for Professionals in Japan
By Orson Baker, Head of Japan Fixed Income Team
It’s a monumental time for Japan, with the Rugby World Cup playing out and the 2020 Olympic Games just over the horizon.
These events are driving the country’s bid for more tourist dollars and for renewed economic stimulus, exposing Japan as a destination of choice for tourists, business and potential expatriates – who are badly needed to address some fundamental issues.
Japan’s population is rapidly ageing and there are career opportunities begging, however the country is known for harsh working conditions and overwork has resulted in some tragic and highly-publicised outcomes. This has repelled many an expatriate candidate.
Japan has also fallen behind in other areas – it was the Germany of Asia, known for high quality manufacturing and products, but competitors have stolen significant market share and Hong Kong continues to dominate in finance. With the eyes of the sporting world upon it, Japan’s out to re-define itself. Change is happening and is being driven from the top echelons of society. Overtime is being limited, with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike mandating that Government employees must go home by 8pm and many of the bigger employers are following suit. Lights in some offices are being turned out at that time to force colleagues to rediscover work-life balance.
Japan holds a rich and fascinating culture, steeped in tradition, but with quirks. It tends to have one foot in comic land and one foot in the future, with huge interest in developing technology capabilities. It’s somewhat bizarre when you see the guy designing the robot driving off with Mickey Mouse figurines on his dashboard!
Japanese people show humility and great respect for one another as well as their sparkling clean environment. They are miles ahead of Australia in recycling and environmental care and they’re a population of 126 million!
There’s Disneyland, Mount Fuji, Shinjuku, Arnema Park, Hakone Onsen, Kyoto, Hiroshima – plenty of people to see and places to go. It’s a great country to experience and explore and anyone who has English and Japanese language skills is in demand. Japan is more open to hiring internationally to fill shortages and so it’s gradually becoming multicultural – it’s finally coming to the global party.
And one giant party is on now… there’s a great deal of networking going on amidst the Rugby World Cup – high-ranking banking and finance executives have come into town. Our Tardis Group colleagues are amongst the action too – under the leadership in Tokyo of Chris Parker (Equities Specialist), they’re witnessing a country that was almost unapproachable, becoming flavour of the month for holidays and business.
Heading into 2020, Tardis’s global reach is going to really count for our Japanese clients and candidates. We’ve been a stalwart in Japanese recruitment for decades. We specialise in finance and healthcare and have a team of six on the ground, backed up by Japanese-speaking colleagues in other global offices, including Sydney. We all work together to cast the widest possible net to source the right people for a range of clients.
We’ve built strong relationships, our clients and candidates trust us in a way that takes many years to build. We’re proud of that, it means we’re kicking goals in Japan too.