A positive outlook for recruitment in 2015


The Robert Walters Global Salary Survey for 2015 has been released. The annual survey contains recruitment market updates, hiring advice and benchmarks salaries across our global markets.

Here we discuss the outlook for Japan in 2015.


Hiring trends across Japan

In 2014 we saw a number of structural reforms in Japan aimed at improving national competitiveness and productivity. Faced with an ageing population, the government introduced an optional extension of the working age in an attempt to retain valuable professional skills and knowledge within the workforce. This measure meant that many young people’s reluctance to enter long-term careers (preferring flexible, part-time work) did not impact the economy to quite the same extent, although there is still a serious skills shortage.

Throughout the year there continued to be strong demand for bilingual professionals across a wide range of sectors, including accountancy and engineering, construction, manufacturing, new product development and green technology. Sales, medical regulatory and legal professionals were also in particularly high demand. However, demand outstripped supply across the board.


Companies will need to meet the expected 10% salary increase for job movers, although this may go up if inflation starts to rise.

With a rapidly shrinking workforce there is currently a chronic skills shortage in Japan with 1.09 jobs to every candidate, rising to two jobs to every candidate in the bilingual market. Indeed, bilingual candidates are proving particularly difficult to source, primarily because most tend to be women (who often leave the workforce in their late twenties to raise children).

As a result, encouraging women back into work is still a key priority for the Japanese government. The skills shortages were especially felt in the accountancy and legal professions, with only 26,000 qualified accountants and 35,000 qualified lawyers in Japan. Those organisations focusing on exceptionally high qualification criteria and protracted recruitment processes struggled to fill roles in 2014.

Companies wanting to expand internationally also struggled to source the requisite workforce skills, resulting in a frustrating hiring environment. In 2015, hiring managers will therefore need to sell the benefits of their companies if they want to secure their target candidates. Focusing on progression, training and a swift recruitment process will be critical, given the competitive nature of the market. Flexible working arrangements will also be essential to encourage women and mature professionals back to work. Companies will also need to meet the expected 10% salary increase for job movers that we saw in 2014, although this may go up if inflation starts to rise. Engineering, IT and sales are the three areas where we anticipate most upward movement on salaries, with a shrinking talent pool giving candidates additional leverage in negotiations. 

About the Global Salary Survey

Now in its sixteenth edition, the Robert Walters annual Global Salary Survey is the most comprehensive review of professional salaries and recruitment trends around the world.

The comprehensive book, covering 24 countries, is free and covers the UK and Ireland, Continental Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand as well as North and South America.The Global Salary Survey is based on the analysis of permanent, interim and contract placements made across each of our geographies and recruitment disciplines during 2014.

Download the Salary Survey

For a more in-depth look at our expectations for the recruitment market in Japan, download the full version of the 2015 Salary Survey.

Compare your salary across a range of global markets and industries. The Salary Survey is also available as an App for download on iOS and Android

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