Companies tend to opt for temporary employment—which dramatically reduces the length of time required for recruitment, hiring and on-boarding compared to hiring permanent employees—when there is an urgent need for human resources that can make an immediate contribution, such as when a new business division is being set up or when foreign-affiliated companies enter the Japanese market. Given this, an increasing number of companies are renewing the contracts of their temporary employees to unlimited terms or making them permanent employees following revisions to Japan's Temporary Staffing Services Law.

Compared to the situation that existed prior to these revisions, more companies are attempting to gain an advantage over their competitors by hiring competent contract/temporary employees as permanent employees or informing such employees about this scheme in advance.

Additionally, temp-to-perm hiring is becoming more commonplace than the hiring of permanent employees on probationary periods for jobs that were previously assigned almost exclusively to long-term temporary employees. Every year, a growing number of companies are expecting the same level of proactivity and willingness to volunteer for work assignments from their contract/temporary employees as they do from their permanent employees. Some companies are also working to ensure that all of their employees earn equal pay for equal work. However, contract/temporary employees still tend to be treated differently from permanent employees in various ways, such as access to important materials and limited involvement with permanent employees in day-to-day operations. Recruitment may change for the better if improvements are made in this respect.

This report discusses the views of 341 contract/temporary employees working at foreign-affiliated companies and globally expanding Japanese companies, and we hope that its key findings can be used to recruit and retain talented contract/temporary employees.


  • Concerns and challenges faced by contract/temporary employees
  • Main factors in the job choices of contract/temporary employees
  • Key points in boosting employee motivation and retention
  • New mutual benefits shared by employers and contract/temporary employees


Employee Insights Survey 2018

Ever since the topic of “working styles” was first raised, an increasing number of companies have been looking for ways to improve work-life balance ahead of the government’s efforts to reform working styles. Many companies have attempted to do this by restricting the amount of overtime their employees could work, but for workers who depended on their overtime allowance as an important part of their income, these restrictions reduced their income and adversely affected their livelihoods.

There are also growing concerns regarding the burdens placed on managerial staff. Managers face a number of difficulties in managing their employees’ performance and maintaining a high level of productivity amid a growing range of working styles such as telecommuting, working from remote offices, and more flexible working hours. The question is now being raised as to how managers can address these burdens and what kinds of solutions they can seek from their workplaces.

There is currently an unprecedented shortage of human resources in Japan, and an increasing number of professionals view the seller’s market as a good career opportunity and express a willingness to change jobs. Industrial structure and the general business environment are also rapidly changing in response to the acceleration of globalisation and technological innovation. This report will shed some light on the views of bilingual talent in Japan through a survey of 1,958 bilingual professionals at both foreign-affiliated companies and globally expanding Japanese companies, and the insights provided here can hopefully be used to recruit and retain these professionals.

Employee Insights Survey 2018 (English / Japanese)

Employee Insights Survey 2017

The staffing shortages in Japan’s labour market today are more pronounced than those seen during the “bubble” period. As a result, it is safe to say that regardless of their industry or scale, all companies are currently trying to uncover the key to retaining talented employees and overcoming competition when recruiting new personnel. The staffing shortages also mean that the labour market is now a sellers’ market with jobseekers now having the advantage. With jobseekers now receiving offers from multiple companies, what conditions are required for them to settle on a particular company and accept an offer? This survey looks at uncovering these key points based on the responses of approximately 1,400 bilingual specialists1 working at the forefront of foreign-owned and global Japanese firms. (“Bilingual specialists” refers to people with specialised skills, knowledge, and experience, who use both Japanese and English in their work.)

Employee Insights Survey 2017 (English / Japanese)

Employee Insights Survey 2016

This survey was conducted on 1,459 bilingual professionals in Japan, and summarizes their attitudes toward their workplaces and changes of employment. The factors that respondents valued in their current office environments and when changing employment were compared based on factors such as age, gender, and industry. The effective job-opening-to-applicant ratio in Japan is currently on the rise, and the labor shortage problem is becoming increasingly serious. As such, it has become an urgent task for companies to put in place measures for securing talented professionals. While there is a need to offer competitive salaries based on market conditions and competitor activity, understanding the evaluation criteria used by professionals working in Japan to decide on the companies to switch to and how they appraise the companies they are currently employed in or their dissatisfactions with these companies, is important when attempting to successfully hire highly skilled specialists and improve retention rates. This survey reveals varying values and attitudes according to differences in demographics, and provides key points that human resource and hiring managers should take into consideration in order to secure talented professionals.

Employee Insights Survey 2016 (English / Japanese)

Employee Insights Survey 2015

Securing target candidates and retaining employees are growing challenges for companies in an increasingly tight labour market. With more and more candidates receiving multiple job offers, competition among companies appears to be intensifying. Employers are advised to clearly understand the needs of professionals and create recruitment strategies as required if they are to keep one step ahead of competitors. This whitepaper looks at the scale of talent shortages and their impact on businesses. It also discusses similarities and differences we found between Japan and South Korea through our surveys. Together with insights from candidates, this report sets out several recommendations to consider, which should help put your company in a better position within a competitive marketplace.

Employee Insights Survey 2015 (English / Japanese)

About the Employee Insights Survey

The Employee Insights Survey is conducted among skilled professionals to visualize ongoing trends in workplace and job changes, sorted by age brackets and industries.

Due to the increasing talent shortage in Japan, employers desperately need to find solutions to acquire skilled human resources.
While it is still imperative to offer a competitive salary within the market to acquire and retain talent, the focus is shifting towards understanding what employees in Japan’s job market value in their future workplace and what they are dissatisfied with at their current jobs.

This survey provides insights on what HR professionals and recruiters should consider in developing their talent acquisition and retention strategies.