Introduction

The Japanese job market

The Japanese market was once dominated by enormous companies that offered jobs for life. With the arrival of recent recessions, this is now changing.

Introduction

From the end of the Second World War until very recently there was great stigma attached to changing jobs in Japan. For Japanese, finding employment was as simple as finishing school and going to work for a major company - the job search was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now, part-time work (arubaito) is becoming more common, especially among young Japanese, and companies are beginning to offer increased mobility and frequent retraining for long-time employees.

Jobs for foreigners in Japan

Foreign workers generally fall into two categories: unskilled workers who do jobs that the Japanese would rather not do themselves (industrial manufacture, menial labor), and workers with special skills (language teachers, international businesspeople, technology specialists). The Japanese government does its best to protect native job-seekers from unemployment by regulating the arrival of foreign workers. However, English-speakers are in demand – especially as language teachers – and are almost always able to find some kind of work.

Foreigners who do not speak English or Japanese will find it nearly impossible to get a job, and in the business world Japanese skills are a must-have for every applicant.

The best way for foreigners to maximize their employability is to make themselves as flexible as possible. Knowing English, learning Japanese and improving professional skills are good places to start.

From the end of the Second World War until very recently there was great stigma attached to changing jobs in Japan. For Japanese, finding employment was as simple as finishing school and going to work for a major company - the job search was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now, part-time work (arubaito) is becoming more common, especially among young Japanese, and companies are beginning to offer increased mobility and frequent retraining for long-time employees.

Jobs for foreigners in Japan

Foreign workers generally fall into two categories: unskilled workers who do jobs that the Japanese would rather not do themselves (industrial manufacture, menial labor), and workers with special skills (language teachers, international businesspeople, technology specialists). The Japanese government does its best to protect native job-seekers from unemployment by regulating the arrival of foreign workers. However, English-speakers are in demand – especially as language teachers – and are almost always able to find some kind of work.

Foreigners who do not speak English or Japanese will find it nearly impossible to get a job, and in the business world Japanese skills are a must-have for every applicant.

The best way for foreigners to maximize their employability is to make themselves as flexible as possible. Knowing English, learning Japanese and improving professional skills are good places to start.

Further reading

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