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International Hiring

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From the Rising Sun to Early Risers: How to Hire the Best Talent from Japan

The island nation of Japan is a true original, boasting a unique blend of tradition and modernity. But despite stunning landscapes (Mount Fuji, anyone?), bustling cities, and a rich tapestry of history and culture, it’s the country’s people that are its real treasure. Hiring workers from Japan opens up a world of opportunities, given the country’s reputation for diligence, discipline, and innovation.

With a population of over 126 million people, Japan is densely populated. Despite its relatively homogeneous society, there is regional diversity, with each area boasting unique customs and dialects. This all contributes to a workforce that brings a distinct perspective and understanding.

Japan is renowned for its specialties in technology, manufacturing, and the arts. The country is home to some of the world’s biggest tech companies and car manufacturers, reflecting a talent pool that is highly skilled in engineering and technology. Japan’s strong emphasis on education ensures a constant pipeline of highly-educated professionals to serve these industries.

In terms of work culture, Japan is known for its strong work ethic, with a typical working week running from Monday to Saturday (although Saturday work is often considered voluntary). In recent times, government initiatives have been put in place to promote better work-life balance and reduce overtime hours. Regardless, respect for hierarchy, punctuality, and consensus-building are deeply ingrained in Japanese business etiquette.

The benefits of doing business in Japan

That’s Japan in a nutshell, but if you’re still not convinced about hiring a Japanese worker, here’s why you should change your mind. It goes without saying that Japan is a powerhouse in the global economy, with industry specialties that span from automobiles to cutting-edge technology–leading to a glut of talented, specialized workers. Brands like Toyota, Sony, Fujifilm, and Panasonic are among the largest in the world, and have gained the public recognition to boot, showcasing the country’s prowess in innovation and quality. 

So how about those workers we mentioned? You’ll be please to hear that Japan has a robust and dedicated workforce. The country’s labor force participation rate stood at a healthy 63.1% as of November 2023, signifying a good talent pipeline. Japanese workers have also borne witness to a move away from traditional employment practices such as lifetime employment, with Japanese workers now increasingly open to new opportunities. 

If you’re someone looking to offer them new opportunities, you can do so via our competitive global employment platform, which features country-specific pricing so you can be sure to get the best deal whether you’re hiring in Japan or beyond! The Multiplier platform makes the process effortless, with contract generation possible in under five minutes (seriously, we’ve timed it).

Other nuances for businesses to note when hiring in Japan include the construction of attractive compensation packages. It’s crucial to get this right as offering the right employee benefits enhances retention, job satisfaction, and facilitates the attraction of top-notch Japanese talent. 

Read more about benefits and compensation in Japan here!

Highly Educated

We’ve still only scratched the surface of reasons to hire in Japan. Here are three takeaways you need to understand about the Japanese workforce.

  • Highly-Educated: Japan’s education system means Japanese students rank among the best in the world for mathematics. Other achievements include the fact that 95% of high school students graduate. This contributes to a dynamic and skilled Japanese workforce; an excellent resource for businesses seeking to enhance their global teams.
  • Low Unemployment: Japan’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world at  2.97%, comparing favorably to other major industrial countries. This can at least partly be attributed to the country’s strong work ethic, as well as adherence to company loyalty.
  • Increasing Female Participation: The female labor-force participation rate in Japan has seen significant growth, rising to 74% in 2022–up from 63% 10 years previously. This trend indicates a shift in Japan’s traditionally male-dominated work culture and presents an opportunity for businesses to tap into a diverse talent pool.

How does that sound? We know this is a lot of information to take into consideration. That’s why at Multiplier we pride ourselves on offering dedicated, 24/5 support tailored to specific countries–so you can sit back and relax in the knowledge that the professionals have things under control. 

Now you’re speaking their language

Picture this scenario: you’ve hired and onboarded talent from Japan, and now you’re wondering what makes them tick. Consider these tips for effective communication with your Japanese colleagues, starting with the stuff that helps no matter where they’re based:

  1. Clear Communication: Clearly communicate job expectations, company culture, and goals to ensure alignment. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help keep everyone on the same page.
  2. Leverage Technology: Use technology to facilitate collaboration and communication. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Trello can help manage projects effectively.
  3. Integration: Make efforts to integrate remote workers into the company culture. Virtual team-building activities or occasional in-person meetings (if possible) can foster a sense of belonging.
  4. Legal Compliance: Ensure all employment contracts and practices comply with Japanese labor laws, even when hiring remotely. Luckily, with Multiplier, our easy-to-use platform ensures compliance is guaranteed, with automatic contract generation that dots the Is and crosses the Ts.

OK, that’s the obvious stuff out of the way. But what about connecting on a human level? Sport is always a good icebreaker, and there’s a good chance your Japanese colleague is a fan considering how sports-mad the country is. It’s baseball and sumo-wrestling that are the two most popular professional sports in the country, with a significant number of people participating and spectating. While baseball in particular is far and away the most popular activity, Japan’s sports scene is quite diverse, with soccer, tennis, and golf also enjoying widespread popularity. 

Not into sports? Try culture. The country is heavily influenced by its historical Shinto and Buddhist roots, and this is evident in the numerous festivals, rituals, and ceremonies held throughout the year. But while traditional arts such as tea ceremonies, flower arranging, and Kabuki theater remain popular, modern pop culture phenomena like anime and manga show that Japanese cultural activities are continuing to evolve. Whether it’s the serenity of a Zen garden or the high-energy world of J-Pop, Japan’s cultural landscape offers something for everyone.

Speaking the truth

Of course, if you really want to impress your new hire, you could try picking up some Japanese terminology. In Japan, the most common greeting is “Konnichiwa,” which translates to “good day” or “good afternoon”. However, it’s worth noting that there are different greetings depending on the time of day, such as “Ohayou” for morning. When it comes to saying goodbye, “Sayōnara” is the formal term, although it’s rarely used in daily conversation. Instead, more casual phrases like “Bai Bai” or “Jaa Ne” are often used among friends.

Now here’s a fantastic work-related phrase to keep an ear out for: “Shitsurei shimasu.” Commonly used when parting from a superior, it literally means “I will be rude,” (!) but in essence means “excuse me”. Truly a brilliant way to insult your boss while also being courteous. Another important term to know is “Otsukaresama desu,” a very versatile phrase that can be used to acknowledge someone’s hard work. Handy!

In our technology-heavy modern world, you generally also need some pretty specific terminology to get by. Japan duly has a rich tech vocabulary. For instance, “Pasokon” is a commonly used term for personal computers, while “Sumaho” refers to smartphones. You may be able to notice with both these words that Japan often uses English loanwords in its tech terminology, albeit with a Japanese pronunciation.

Did you know?

Now that we’ve got the serious business out of the way, let’s have a quick look at some Japanese fun facts. Japanese history is filled with intriguing details. For instance, Japan is home to the world’s oldest company, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, which has been operated continuously for over 1,300 years by the same family

When it comes to famous people, you can take your pick. Let’s focus on literary figures. After all, it was a Japanese woman, Murasaki Shikibu, who wrote the world’s first novel, “The Tale of Genji,” in the 11th century. In more recent times, Haruki Murakami has made significant contributions to the global literature scene.

Finally, there’s the food, glorious food. Japanese cuisine is internationally acclaimed, from sushi to ramen to tempura. A lesser-known culinary tidbit is that Japan is renowned for its unique vending machine culture, where you can purchase anything from drinks to hot meals. Convenient!

Hungry for more Japan info?

We’ve got you covered! So far we’ve talked about the big picture, but our talent wiki page contains all the nitty gritty information you need to make your Japan hiring plans an astronomical success. Click the link for details on statutory leave, public holidays, talent sourcing locations, and much, much more!

  • Taxes: Employers must contribute 15.045%, consisting of:
    • Health Insurance at 5%
    • Welfare Pension at 9.15%
    • Unemployment Insurance at 0.6%
    • Child Allowance at 0.36%
    • Varying Worker’s Accident Compensation Insurance
  • Employee benefits:
    • Health & Medical Insurances
    • Holidays & Annual Leave
    • Maternity & Paternity Leave
    • Sickness & Special Ability Leave
    • Pensions
  • Visa requirements:
    • According to the Japan Immigration Authority, foreign workers can legally work in the country if they have secured a Japanese work visa.
Female Participation

Make international employment possible with Multiplier

And that’s the lowdown on hiring in Japan. Now you’ve heard the benefits, make your dreams a reality with Multiplier. We’re here to help businesses boost their productivity with exceptional global talent, whether from Japan or anywhere else!

Our presence in over 100 countries worldwide showcases the breadth of expertise we possess. Multiplier is a one-stop solution for all your global hiring needs, so why not talk to our experts and book a demo today?

Will Smith
Will Smith

Content Writer

Will is a content writer at Multiplier. With a background in technology journalism, he is passionate about busting jargon, getting to the heart of complex topics, and (hopefully) writing pieces you'll enjoy reading.

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Employ the best person for job, regardless of location

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