Hays Quarterly Report: Improved but cautious recruitment activity, increased demand for bilingual candidates

May 18th, 2011News

Hays Quarterly Report: Improved but cautious recruitment activity, increased demand for bilingual candidates

An inevitable slowdown in hiring activity following the 11 March earthquake and its aftermath has now been replaced by improved, albeit cautious, vacancy activity across Japan, says recruiting experts Hays.

In its Hays Japan Quarterly Report for April to June, the recruiter reveals that many sectors are cautiously returning to business-as-usual recruitment activity, particularly finance firms, although approval processes can take longer for new roles and much activity is replacement-driven.

Many sectors have seen a spike in demand for certain skills in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Japan, says: “In general, demand has risen for bilingual candidates. The banking and property sectors in particular have urgent requirements, and within financial technology there has been a spike in demand for contract workers to ensure business continuity in preparing for future potential crises.”

“We have also seen a reduction in the number of candidates actively looking in many sectors. This is adding further pressure to the existing skills shortages and so companies need to ensure they have a succinct recruitment process and a tailored and competitive offer to secure top candidates.”

According to the Hays Quarterly Report, the skills in most demand include:

Accountancy and finance –
The new financial year brought with it an increase in demand for senior and management candidates. Candidates with bilingual Japanese/English skills are also sought, as are bi-cultural candidates for roles in international companies. High demand is also evident for Japanese candidates with overseas experience.

Banking –
Experienced fixed income professionals are in demand and there is a constant requirement for experienced bilingual Research Analysts in some trading areas. Bilingual Product Controllers are in short supply and are highly regarded by any house with a derivative trading business.

Finance Technology –
As most investment firms are still expanding their e-trading space, candidates with strong user and customer facing skills are in high demand. This is an area where firms are trying to claim market share both in Tokyo and within the broader Asia Pacific region, although the skill shortage in this sector will drive firms to look outside the industry for good language and technical skills.

Human Resources –
Talent Management and Organisation Development Specialists are in demand. Not every organisation has this expertise, so there is a shortage of candidates with the exact skill set or experience required.

Information Technology –
A large number of companies have commenced projects but lack resources, even in the area of project management. This is creating high demand for Project Leaders and Managers with Java, C# and .NET backgrounds, the ability to manage large scale projects and the ability to join the organization quickly. In the telecom area, demand is high for professionals from the small segment of RAN / Core Network / WCDMA / 3G technology.

Legal –
The market is in growth mode and there are many in-house mid-level legal roles available, particularly within IT, computer gaming and healthcare companies. These roles demand very specific industry-related experience from the mid-level through to General Counsel. But there is a shortage of candidates with the right skills and experience among current job seekers.

Pharma –
Japan’s pharmaceutical industry is preparing for major growth. Given the number of new drugs in the pipeline, Regulatory Affairs professionals are in demand in order to initiate the approval submission and to monitor production once it begins on a large scale. Quality Assurance candidates are also needed, as are experienced marketing personnel and salespeople.

Property –
Up until the earthquake, demand had spiked for Acquisitions candidates. While today employers still need these candidates, they are instead waiting to verify if investors are willing to put their capital into Japan again. Since the earthquake, demand for Facilities Manager has risen tenfold. Given electricity restrictions, big companies have to work out how to reduce their daily usage by 25 percent, and employers need such candidates immediately.

Sales/Marketing –
Companies need results oriented Salespeople with good English language skills to generate revenue. Headcount restrictions have in most cases been lifted, however in certain industries, such as retail, semi-con, manufacturing and auto, there are major delays due to the situation in the Tohoku region, which was hard hit by the 11 March earthquake. We have also witnessed a big increase in the number of marketing roles, following the last three years in which few such roles were available.

Supply Chain –
Bilingual Demand Planners/ Production Planners and procurement candidates with strong negotiation skills (to achieve cost reductions) are highly sought after. English language skills are critical due to the number of companies that run manufacturing operations overseas.


Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

For further information please contact:

Hiroko Kadoya
Tel: 03-3560-2528
Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan K.K.

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