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80% of companies concerned about the talent shortage within their industry; 48% of tech companies “very concerned.”

82% of tech employees confident of future opportunities, but only 57% among translators and office workers. 

On November 26, specialist professional recruitment firm Robert Walters Japan announced its recent survey results regarding the topic of skills mismatch. The survey was answered by 300 companies and 4,062 company employees working in Japan (mainly in Tokyo and Kansai).

In response to the survey results, Jeremy Sampson, Managing Director at Robert Walters Japan commented: “In the post-Covid-19 era, people who can keep an eye on changes in the business environment and market trends as well as drive business forward strategically and quickly are in high demand. Many companies with operations in Japan are hiring for sales positions to expand and promote their businesses, engineers and developers to promote innovation, and accountants to support management by accurately grasping business trends. Many companies have been able to speed up and continue their hiring processes as a result of the pandemic. On the other hand, long-term skills mismatch and talent shortages are becoming increasingly serious in the post-pandemic era.

The survey revealed that skilled professionals, especially in the tech industry, are confident about job opportunities. In addition to technical skills and industry experience, candidates with strong communication skills to turn remote environment into opportunities, and problem-solving skills to respond to new challenges and drive change are highly sought after. In this survey, 26% of company employees reported that their career development was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Around 40% responded that they plan to overcome this by learning a completely new skill. We can expect more demand among professionals for training and development opportunities that allow people to acquire new skills while working.”

Job functions with high hiring needs: “sales" ranked 1st, “engineer & developer” ranked 2nd and “accounting & finance” ranked 3rd

The most common roles available were in “sales”, followed by “engineer & developer”, and “accounting & finance.” For sales-related job functions, 42% of companies continued to hire even during Covid-19.

About 80% of companies, particularly in the tech industry, are concerned about the talent shortage within their industry

Of the 300 companies in 10 industries that responded to the survey, 79% are concerned about the shortage of talent. By industry, 85% of companies in the tech industry are concerned about the future talent shortage, and nearly half (48%) are “very concerned” about the severity of the problem. By seniority level, many companies believe the talent shortage is particularly acute at the “senior/team leader” level and “manager” level.

Hiring challenges for Japanese companies: “lacking industry experience”, “lacking technical qualifications” and “lack of applicants”

The top three hiring challenges in Japan are a lack of industry experience (52%), lack of technical qualifications (41%) and a lack of applicants (27%). In the financial services industry, high expectations for salary and benefits among candidates as well as counter-offers due to competition for talent (both 28%) are also challenges. In the tech industry, the results suggest a shortage of not only technical skills, but also industry experience (59%).

Most in-demand soft skills in the post-pandemic era: “communication skills” ranked 1st, “problem solving” ranked 2nd and “teamwork” ranked 3rd

When leaders of organisations or HR departments were asked about most important transferrable/soft skills needed, demand for communication skills (70%), problem solving (64%) and teamwork (38%) was particularly high. Additionally, “leadership” in the manufacturing industry and “flexibility” and “resilience” in the tech industry are also considered important.

63% of employees across industries looking to change jobs within 12 months

Of the 4,062 employees in Japan surveyed, 37% are currently working and looking for a job change. Furthermore, 63% of employees would like to change jobs within 12 months. About one in four employees are not considering a job change, indicating that more employees are seeking stability in their employment than compared to pre-Covid-19.

82% of tech employees are optimistic about job opportunities; only 57% of translation and office workers are optimistic

Overall, 73% of employees are optimistic about job opportunities in their sector and profession in the future. In contrast, only 57% of employees in interpreting, translating, and general office positions are confident about their chances of changing jobs, slightly more than the majority.

(Survey period: October 13 to November 12, 2020, Target: Domestic and foreign-affiliated companies in Japan n=300; Company employees registered with Robert Walters Japan and living in Japan n=4,062)


Top 10 job functions with hiring needs



Which seniority level do you detect the most acute talent shortage?


Top challenges in hiring


Top soft skills needed in the post-pandemic era


When are you next looking to change jobs?


How confident are you about job opportunities in your sector?

Press Release(PDF)

To request further information, please contact PR executive on 03-4570-1500 or info@robertwalters.co.jp

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