Client Newsletter – November 2019

  • Client Newsletter – November 2019

    Client Newsletter – November 2019



    For the Legal market this month we have seen activity at either end of the candidate market. Clients are more open these days to candidates at either end of the seniority spectrum, with roles open to new graduates and the over 60s. In the past companies have usually looked for legal support roles from junior candidates but are now also seeing value in candidates who have retired, of course they have a lot of experience but are generally looking for a less intensive role. At the other extreme, companies are willing to bring in law school graduates and spend time on training them up for in-house roles. This is likely a response to the difficulty in recruiting candidates in their 30s and 40s.


    Compared to October, the job market for Accounting and Finance in November is almost unchanged. In Japanese companies and companies with their own tax department, there is an increasing number of job openings for tax officers and tax managers. In particular, there are many job offers for international taxation, tax strategy, transfer pricing, and so on and there is an increasing need for licensed tax accountants.


    Recruitment for accounting departments at IT companies, venture companies and startup companies has also increased, and candidates with IPO experience are in great demand. As before, there are also many FP&A positions, and IT companies, consumer goods companies and healthcare companies.


    The following are some examples of offers out this month:




    • US Medical Supplies – Legal & Compliance Manager – 12M
    • Japanese AI Tech – Legal Manager – 12M
    • Global Automotive – Compliance Manager – 10M


    Accounting & Finance


    • Japanese Global Company – Tax Manager ­– 12M
    • Europe Manufacturing Company – Tax Specialist – 8M
    • Europe Consumer Company – FP&A Manager – 14M


    Recruitment Focus – Diversity

    In recent years diversity and inclusion has become an increasingly important topic as companies globally have seen the benefits and importance to their business of promoting underrepresented groups in their workforce. This is true for Japan, with the government and the private sector making efforts, in particular with regards to gender equality at work.


    However, this is one area in which corporate Japan lags well behind its international rivals. In 2018, the World Economic Forum released its annual report on gender equality. Iceland topped the charts but, out of 144 countries, Japan ranked only 110th. So clearly there is an opportunity for Japan to catch up by increasing the participation of women in the workforce. The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has pledged to tackle this issue, with the aim of having 30% of management positions filled by women in 2020.


    Progress has been slow in this area, and a rapid change is unlikely given that most large Japanese companies still operate under a seniority model meaning it will take time for anyone to come through to management positions. Aside from gender, there are other areas specific to Japan where there have been some changes in hiring practices.


    Nationality – Japan is of course predominantly Japanese but, due to a shrinking labour force, may need to open its doors to other nationalities to make up the difference. In 2019 a new type of visa was introduced which will make it easier for skilled foreign nationals to come to Japan with their families


    Seniority – Another factor in the shrinking workforce is to do with demographics – as the population ages and the birthrate is in decline the available talent pool will be smaller. If companies continue to focus on hiring only those in their 30s and 40s, or have compulsory retirement at 50 or 55 and ignore what senior candidates can contribute, the problem will only get worse. The government is planning to raise the retirement age to 70 in response.


    Background – Companies may also need to look at candidates with more ‘unconventional’ backgrounds, for example, those without a college degree or who spent years abroad before returning to Japan, or have made more job changes than is ideal. Companies are beginning, slowly, to put skills and potential on a similar level to experience. This will require a shift in interview styles and questions.


    Year-round hiring – Traditionally companies have focused on hiring new graduates to join in April each year, leaving HR departments extremely busy around this period. Keidanren (the Japanese Business Federation) has relaxed its rules on when its members can start interviewing university graduates. Hiring efforts should include not only new graduates but also young employees looking to move.


    With a shrinking workforce, caused by an ageing population and falling birthrate, the necessity for Japan to embrace diverse hiring practice is clear but what are some of the benefits for your organisation? A recent study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) looked at 1700 companies in 8 different countries. They found that increased diversity in the company leadership had a direct positive effect on revenue; companies with a more diverse management team on average had 19% higher revenue than those with more uniform teams.


    This is just one study but it reflects what we already know about the benefits of the multiple points of view and ideas. Diverse teams are more likely to produce unique ideas and solve problems faster than groups who have similar mindsets, according to the Harvard Business Review. Another way diversity can help your organisation improve is by giving you better access to the global market. If your employees all have the same nationality it will make it more difficult to expand your markets overseas.


    Recruiting a diverse team will in itself have a positive effect on your recruiting efforts in future. A Glassdoor survey in 2018 found that 67% of job hunters said that they consider diversity an important factor when deciding where to work. They stated that a diverse environment made them feel more comfortable about expressing themselves and their ideas.


    Finally, a more diverse team will have a better chance to understand what their customers are thinking. A broader representation in your company will be able to empathize and create stronger connections with a wider range of customers, giving your organisation a clear advantage.


    There are many pluses to increasing diversity in your workforce, as long as it is managed properly within a strong company culture. Next month we will look at how to introduce diversity into your recruiting process.



    Recruitment 101- Onboarding

    Once the hard part of sourcing, interviewing and closing your chosen candidate on your offer is over, surely you can relax and wait for them to turn up on their first day and start a long a successful career. Unfortunately not – the process is not over, and onboarding correctly or not can have a significant effect on a candidate’s impression of the company and their long-term performance.


    Naturally, we follow up with our candidates after they have accepted an offer and then again after they join the company and there is a big difference in feedback, depending on the onboarding process.  Candidates who start at a company which is involved and has organised a clear process and provided information on the company culture and the expectations are the most positive and optimistic about the future. If the process is not well-thought-out though, candidates tend to start looking around and noticing things which are not so perfect about their new home and this can lead to negativity and, in the worst case, some motivation to keep job hunting.


    So what are some of the most important things candidates look for when joining a new company?


    1 on 1 contact with their hiring manager – this is by far the most important thing for new joiners and is the best way to get quickly engaged and motivated for the new challenge. Make sure to schedule meetings with line managers and internal clients as soon as possible so new employees can learn about their responsibilities and make a strong start


    Set our long-term expectations and career development – doing this right will help you keep the new employee engaged and productive for a long stay. Lack of career development is often a reason candidates give us for wanting to move so making sure they are informed of how they can succeed, and where this will take them will motivate them to be a productive member of the team.


    Fill their schedules – until they can establish their routine, it is a good idea to give new hires, especially if they are more junior, a set schedule, for the first week while they find their feet. This could include a range of activities, to introduce them to the office, their colleagues and the local area. Just showing them to their desk and phone and leaving them to it may make them feel unwanted – giving candidates a clear, busy schedule will help them settle in and feel comfortable.


    Getting onboarding right takes time and preparation, but it is the preparation that will make your new colleagues feel wanted and thus more motivated to exceed expectations!



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