For large parts of Japan’s bilingual, specialised job market, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact with foreign companies that depend on tourist spending the worst affected. As a result, foreign airlines, hotels and luxury consumer-goods companies have already reduced salaries, put staff on furlough or drastically reduced hours.
But in many other industries, we’re seeing clear signs that several key themes in Japan have not changed.
Companies are still hiring - and competing for talent that’s in short supply
Much like the 2008 global financial crisis, bilingual talent is again changing industries. We have seen top performers from services and retail/FMCGs shift to IT and healthcare, where many firms aren’t freezing hiring.
We’ve seen bilingual accounting and finance candidates receive multiple offers – all through remote interviews – in recent months. Yes, the interview process has changed, but tight supply of specialised talent hasn’t.
Supply remains a challenge particularly at player level. Companies are still hiring in from overseas and still need to woo potential stars to join them, rather than the competition.
The Japanese market is still unique
Along with the shallow pool of bilingual talent, candidates rarely move from Japanese companies to foreign ones. Even at foreign companies in Japan candidates remain loyal to their employers.
COVID-19 will make many candidates more risk averse and less likely to take the plunge of working in a foreign company, which are often described as “severe”.
Companies and candidates still need recruiters
Companies still need recruiters to source talent, even when they have a talent acquisition team in place. Posting job ads will not source you what you need and the “hidden market” still needs to be tapped.
Candidates still need recruiters to coach them through the interview process from applying for the first role to submitting their resignation to their current employer. In Japan, candidates can even use an agency to handle their resignation process from their current employer.