Are you interested in living and working in Japan? Even if your Japanese ability is limited, there may be a job position that is right for you. There are, in fact, many industries that are welcoming to international residents in Japan.
In this article, we will go over the trends of employment among foreign residents, as well as five industries that many foreign residents work in.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
- The trend of foreigners employment in Japan
- 5 industries (and companies) in Japan that many foreigners work in
- In conclusion
The trend of foreigners employment in Japan
Today we will explore the fields where foreigners can find work more easily in Japan.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s (MHLW) October 2019 reports on the current standing of Foreigners Employment status, the number of establishments that employ foreign workers was 242,608, an increase of 26,260 or 12.1% from the same period of the previous year (a record high since reporting the numbers became mandatory in 2007).
Moreover, the number of foreign workers was 1,658,804 at the time of publishing the report. This number is an increase of 198,341 or 13.6% from the same period of the previous year. This is also considered a record high. The data shows that in recent years, there has been an increase in the available jobs in Japan for foreigners.
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5 industries (and companies) in Japan that many foreigners work in
You may be wondering what kind of jobs many foreigners work in Japan. It seems that there are many popular jobs and workplaces with many foreigners in the following industries (and companies).
If you are a programmer or engineer, even if you are a foreigner who speaks Japanese at the conversational level, it is highly likely that a company in Japan will hire you. If you have a career as a programmer or engineer in your home country, you have a high chance of scoring an IT position in Japan. There are two main reasons why IT engineers’ jobs are popular among foreigners.
One reason is that IT is developing rapidly, and skills are always in need, and having such skills is advantageous for employment in today’s world. Also, there are many employment opportunities because there is a shortage of human resources in Japan since the population is decreasing steadily.
If you have sought out skills as an IT engineer, you will find many job opportunities, and it will be useful as a skill to have on your CV when you are stepping up your career.
The second is, you will be able to acquire the necessary communication skills. When you hear the words IT engineer, you may have the image of working in front of a computer all the time. However, it is a profession that requires communication skills and writing skills in the field.
By entering a Japanese company as an IT engineer, you will learn many useful communication skills and business etiquette of Japanese companies and work skills that you can utilize in the future.
A foreign-affiliated company usually has many foreigners coming to Japan via transferring from the overseas head office to the Japanese branch office. Job types vary depending on the company, such as marketing, planning, sales, engineers, or programmers.
Although people come to Japan via transferring from their home country, it is also possible to apply directly to the company if you are already in Japan.
Many foreign-affiliated companies are merit-based companies. If you achieve results, you will be evaluated, and you will have the opportunity to be promoted. Moreover, foreign-affiliated companies are large in scale, as they operate worldwide, thus have a stable business performance.
Therefore, they have the advantage of being able to obtain high salaries from a young age and provides strong employment security. Since foreign-affiliated companies also exist aboard, the environment can be comfortable for many foreigners. This is certainly one option for people to take to find jobs in Japan for foreigners.
Language school instructor
Since Japanese nationals are holders of one of the world’s strongest passports, many Japanese people are very keen on learning foreign languages to level up their career or travel abroad. Therefore, there are language schools everywhere to learn foreign languages, especially English.
If you are a native English speaker, this category is probably your easiest and fastest train to catch for working in Japan.
However, many schools will hire a language school instructor on the condition that they are university graduates. So if you are a university graduate and are confident that you are good at teaching others, you can work in Japan.
According to your prospective students’ age group and the type of educational institution, language instructors in Japan are broadly classified into three types. Below is a summary of the three types.
Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
ALT is usually what Japanese use to refer to a “Foreign Language Teacher” in Japanese. Most teachers who are active as ALTs work at Japanese schools as English teachers. Individuals are assigned to elementary, junior high, a high school, and teach students languages in school classes.
English conversation school instructor
It is possible to work as a language teacher in Japan without becoming an ALT. In that case, you can be a language instructor who teaches English at an English conversation school run by a private company. In this field, you may be able to teach English to people of all ages, from elementary school students to working adults.
However, in some cases, it will be necessary to teach advanced English, such as academic or business English. Since private companies run these kinds of English teaching classes, it could require you to have a degree in education or similar credentials.
Childcare English Teaching Staff
In this field, you are expected to teach English while caring for children in nursery schools and kindergartens. Unlike ALTs and teachers at English conversation schools, taking care of children is part of the job description, so childcare experience is often required.
Restaurants and Hospitality Services
The Japanese are very enthusiastic about delicious cuisine. Therefore, Japan is full of restaurants where you can eat delicious food from all over the world. Due to the chronic labor shortage in this industry, the hospitality industry is quite enthusiastic about actively hiring foreign personnel.
If you can speak Japanese to some extent (intermediate level), it will be easy to be in charge of customer service after some training. Even if you are not confident in Japanese, you can still work at a restaurant, for example, in the kitchen. While doing so, you can listen to your coworkers and learn essential phrases and some Japanese manners to get the job done.
If you have worked as a cook or in a restaurant in your home country, you can likely work in Japan in the same industry. Foreigners who like to serve and help customers, are confident in their social abilities, or enjoy doing reception tasks may consider working in the food and hospitality industry.
To work in the food and beverage industry, it is imperative to know the “playground.” Therefore, in most cases, after gaining experience as a staff member in the field, you will advance your career to a position such as a store manager, area manager, product development, or store development.
In addition to advancing their careers at major companies, foreigners entering the restaurant industry have the advantage of learning how to open their own restaurant in Japan after gaining experience as a hospitality employee. Therefore, this could be one way to dip your toes in Japanese society for the long-term and learn about the country and industry.
Nursing Care Business
In just three years, 2025, the baby boomer generation will be over 75 years old.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan estimates that there will be a shortage of 380,000 long-term nursing care personnel. This severe shortage of long-term care personnel in the elderly care industry is likely to become a significant problem in the future.
In Japan, the law was amended in September 2017 that allows international students to qualify as a care worker; this status of residency is now accepted when they look for a job. “Technical intern training system” is a structure where people from developing countries learn technologies and skills while working in Japan.
Until recently, Japan has accepted trainees only in the agriculture and fishery industries. However, a new field of “nursing care” was added in 2017.
Long-term care employees’ requirement is the following: experience in engaging in daily life care or medical care for the elderly or disabled at a nursing facility or home for the elderly or disabled in a foreign country.
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Although looking for jobs in Japan might more of a challenge than average, it is highly rewarding and recommended. Since the labor shortage is a severe issue, Japanese society will be suffering from the continuously aging population indefinitely.
This issue could be a unique opportunity for many highly skilled individuals to find jobs in Japan for foreigners. From there, they can start a new beginning in Japan and create a new chapter in their lives.