Client Newsletter – September 2018

  • Client Newsletter – September 2018

    Client Newsletter – September 2018



    It feels like Japan is in for another rainy season after a very hot summer! Our picture this month, chosen from Tokyo Weekender, gives a feel of the rain we have been experiencing recently across Japan. Fortunately, things are a lot brighter in the recruiting market, and many of our clients are sourcing for new roles. We are of course ready to help you, come rain or shine!


    Coming back from the summer break, the Legal market for September has continued with a high level of activity. We are seeing a large number of roles from different industries focusing on government relations and regulatory affairs, among other areas. Many companies, particularly those with direct customers, are keen to strengthen their corporate governance, in response to current regulations and in anticipation of future rules which may affect their business. It is always good to be ready, as penalties are often quite severe.


    The past month has seen a number of openings in Supply Chain and Logistics in the apparel/fashion, consumer goods and chemical industries. There have also been some interesting procurement roles recently, although the market is quite competitive in this area and some industries are struggling to attract good talent within their budget restrictions. There have also been quite a few open positions for logistics service provider companies as candidates continue to flow more towards the ‘customer side’. Professionals in these areas can expect some interesting job roles and competitive salaries.


    In the Accounting & Finance market, for foreign-affiliated companies especially, demand for candidates in their late 20s to mid-30s is very high. They have a large number of openings for business planning and FP&A. Candidates with strong English skills, and who are willing to move overseas, are in high demand with Japanese global companies. There are also a large number of roles with venture companies in TMT (Technology Media Telecoms) industry for financial accounting specialists with IPO experience.


    In the Human Resources market the need for experienced, strategically focused HR Business Partners is still very strong, with roles ranging from the Senior Manager to the Director level available. As well, a number of our clients have let us know of their ongoing difficulty in hiring for operational human resources positions. Several in-house talent acquisition / recruiting roles are also currently open, covering specialist areas such as for new graduates (campus), marketing and engineering.


    The following are some data on recent employment offers made in the market for Legal, Accounting & Finance, Logistics & Supply Chain and Human Resources candidates.



    – Global FMCG – Regulatory Legal – 10M
    – US Internet – Public Policy Counsel – 18M
    – Global Manufacturer – General Counsel – 20M+


    Accounting & Finance

    – US IT venture – Finance Director – 16M
    – US Manufacturer – Finance Manager – 14M
    – European Retail –  FP&A Manager  – 14M


    Logistics & Supply Chain Management

    – Foreign Cosmetics – Logistics Assistant Manager – 7M
    – HVAC – Logistics Specialist – 6.5M
    – US Healthcare ­ – SCM Manager ­– 12M


    Human Resources/General Affairs

    – Medical device manufacturer and distributor – HR Director – 15M
    – Multinational fashion company – Assistant HR Manager – 10M
    – Transportation related firm ­– HR Business Partner – 8M


    Recruitment Focus

    What is your bottom line?

    You may have noticed in the news that many states in the United States have now, or are considering, banning employers from asking candidates about their salary history. This has been introduced to try and alleviate the gender pay gap and prevent it from growing further (in 2017, women in the US earned 79c for every dollar men earned). It is thought that if companies base their offers on previous salary levels then the pay gap for women and minorities will continue.


    Some major companies, such as Amazon, Cisco, Google and American Express are not waiting and have changed their hiring policies to get rid of questions about salary history. In Japan is it still legal to ask about salary history, but we have started to see some candidates who wish to keep their salary information private.


    Current salary and salary history are often used as one of the main factors in deciding what an offer should be, so it may be troublesome to remove this from your hiring process. However, there are some reasons why doing this may improve the quality of candidate you consider and also improve the process.


    Firstly, by asking about salary and then basing your offer on this, you may be continuing gender pay gaps. Japan, for example, ranks 3rd lowest among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for its gender pay gap, with men earning approximately 25% more than women for comparable full-time roles in 2017. It is likely then that this will be reflected in a candidate’s current salary, regardless of their ability.


    Secondly, a candidate’s salary may be unconnected to their real value.  For example, they may be genuinely underpaid due to their company’s policy, they may have had to take a lower-paying job during a difficult period personally or for the economy, or they may not have been paid fairly in the first place (remember women are routinely paid less than men for the same job). Also, some jobs, especially if they relate to new and untested technology, go through periods of very high pay, before falling to their ‘real’ level as the technology is normalised and the market matures. So if you discard candidates based on their salary being too high or low you may miss out based on inaccurate information.


    Thirdly, by asking about salary history, you may be undermining your own company’s diversity efforts. Women and minority groups often have pay gaps in their salary history due to reasons which have nothing to do with their ability or suitability. By focusing on salary level as an indicator of whether a candidate is a good fit you may be overlooking the kind of great candidates your company is actively trying to attract through diversity programs.


    Lastly, your company’s image and reputation may well benefit if you are seen as an organisation which is seeking to reduce pay gaps and offer market-based competitive salaries to a diverse candidate base. Word-of-mouth travels extremely quickly and widely these days through social media, and for candidates in the 25-35-year-old range company culture is one of the first things they look at when considering a new employer. Taking a progressive stance ahead of the market will surely get you noticed in a positive way and help you attract the best candidates.


    If salary history questions are removed from the process you will instead need to rely on other information to make a competitive offer. In this case it is always good to have an active network of HR colleagues and recruiters to get an idea of the latest offers in the market for strong candidates.


    Salary history questions are still perfectly legal in Japan of course, but there may be the time when it is not permissible to ask, in which it is good to prepare and think of alternative hiring strategies.


    Recruiter View – Customers not Candidates


    After many years of working with candidates through their recruitment processes, the number 1 consideration for a positive experience has been the frequency and quality of communication from the company.


    To attract and retain the attention of the most talented and qualified candidates, we are keen to advise that the best approach is to have internal and external recruiters (if engaged) working together in partnership with the hiring managers. Each party should not just be involved to administer the process of interviews and feedback, but should look at themselves as owners of their part of the process.


    By working together, the candidate can receive clear and regular communication about the timeline and milestones in the process and be notified of any delays or changes, directly by the internal recruiting team or through the external agent.


    Treating applicants as you would your valued customers will reap many benefits – you will attract and retain the best talent, and your reputation for treating applicants with care and respect will ensure future hiring success.



    We provide a free consultation and training session to help clients improve recruitment activity and perfect their agency relations.
    For further information on this topic or any other recruitment-related questions, please contact 

    Comments are closed.