Amid a dire shortage of skilled Tech and Science related workers, major Japanese businesses are increasingly venturing outside the Countries borders to find and recruit the volumes of talented tech workers they need.
“I don’t think there will ever be a day when we can say we have enough engineers,” said Takaya Ishiguro, manager of human resources at Mercari.
In an effort to appeal to prospective candidates, Japanese firms are hosting events, providing more options for office locations outside of the capital and offering more perks for foreign workers, including higher salaries, relocation packages, language lessons and a range of support to make settling into a new country easier.
“Basically, we need engineers in all sectors,” Ishiguro said. “Our management comes up with many new ideas,” but existing services need to be improved continuously. “We think it’s necessary to reach out to the global workforce,” adding that the firm has been heavily promoting recruitment for overseas talent.
This approach is working and gathering steam for many leading and innovative businesses in Japan who are all trying to fill the STEM skills shortage with overseas talent.
With the increase in foreign workers being hired, Companies are working to improve their efforts to help them adapt to life in Japan, by providing extra assistance in finding housing, opening bank accounts, language courses, among other support services.
It also encourages employees, including Japanese nationals, to become multilingual, offering English language lessons and arranging chat sessions at lunch or over coffee so that English speaking employees — can mingle with Japanese workers.
Foreign workers are essential for many tech firms because they bring diverse perspectives and quality skills necessary for the job. As a manager explained tech companies “solve many problems using modern technology. … When you have a team with such diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences from different countries, there is a high potential of solving those issues better and faster,”
It’s not just in Tokyo
In hopes of luring skilled workers both at home and form abroad with a chance to reside in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, Line Corp., a popular messaging app service, opened a new development base in the heart of the city in June.
The firm plans to raise the number of engineers to 3,000, from around 2,100, in the near future. While more tech staffers are needed, “we won’t lower our hiring bar,” said Ryohei Miyota.
At its Kyoto and Fukuoka bases, the firm is not requiring Japanese language proficiency, removing a hurdle for talented engineers who cannot speak Japanese.
“From our experience, it’s hard to attract engineers if we require Japanese skills and some background in relation to Japan,”
He also noted the appeal of the company’s two development bases outside Tokyo. The Japanese branches of foreign tech giants typically do not have offices for engineers at multiple locations. “Our personnel system allows workers to move relatively freely to other offices,” Miyota said. “I think that’s quite tempting.”
Compared with Fukuoka, with its reputation as Japan’s “startup city,” Kyoto still lags behind as far as the tech sector goes, but is growing at a solid pace.
Rapid expansion, rapid recruitment and hiring
As Japanese businesses continue to expand at such a fast pace, and Tokyo recently named the Most Innovative City in the World, it’s no wonder why Japan is enthusiastically opening the doors to overseas Tech and STEM workers, and, why the need to hire the best and brightest from the global workforce has become such a necessity and priority for so many Japanese Companies.