Difference between the technology recruitment market in Japan and Singapore

Chiaya Hasegawa October 17, 20194 mins read

My experience as a technology recruitment consultant in Tokyo started five years ago.

During this time, I have been privileged to work with clients in multiple industries.

To meet the demands of my clients, I have recruited in areas such as software engineering, data, BA/PM, product management, UIUX designers, and leadership searches.  

In this post, I will be writing about my experiences while working as a Tech Recruiter in Japan and Singapore.

I have been able to form an opinion about the tech market in both countries after some time working in Singapore. Generally, the tech market in the two countries is influenced by the availability of talent.  

From my observations, I have formed the following impression; 

1. The Candidates’ Perspective

In Japan, employees tend to be more loyal. It is uncommon to find employees who choose to switch companies less than 2 years in their current role. Employees in Japan are reluctant to change jobs often because of the negative impact on their resumes.

The companies in Japan encourage employees to stay by investing in them and providing a good working environment, as well as promoting deserving employees to higher positions in the company.

In contrast to the situation in Japan, employees in Singapore often change jobs. Many employees have worked in different companies within a period of two years. 

Employees in Singapore change jobs in search of higher salaries and more privileged positions in companies. 

The situation in Singapore can be interpreted in the following way- it is difficult to get a promotion or an increase in salary even after working for many years in one company. This is a challenge that has discouraged employees from being loyal to companies in Singapore.

In my opinion, companies in Singapore are contending with a vicious cycle where they need to continuously recruit talented candidates, who may leave within a year or two, regardless of how much the company invests in the candidate.

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2. The Hirer’s Perspective

Everyone is interested in hiring the best candidates with the right skills who can help the company grow. Candidates with such skills and experience are rare.   On top of that, clients in Japan avoid employing candidates who show a tendency to switch jobs after working for less than two years. 

Japanese language skills are also really important. The reason for this preference is that Japanese is still predominantly used for communication in business. Japanese people would rather speak their language than the English language. This is a big challenge in Japan.

The language preference has made it more difficult for candidates to find their dream jobs in global companies where candidates who can fluently communicate in Japanese and English have a higher chance of securing a job.

On the other hand, in Singapore, the English language is predominantly used for communication. There is no communication problem in Singapore, which is why it is easier to change jobs since a candidate’s ability to speak a particular language is not a criterion for securing employment.

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3. Sourcing for Candidates

There is an equal struggle to find the best talent in Japan and Singapore. But there are few factors that distinguish the situation in both countries.

In Japan, platforms such as LinkedIn are not often used yet, it is difficult for companies to find the best candidates even when they are out there. Many people are also unaware of platforms that make it easy for employers to connect with potential employees.

Many workers in Japan are also unaware that they can secure better jobs; this obliviousness is due to a lack of exposure to technologies used in other places. 

Based on these reasons, I can infer that Japan is not the most convenient place for a foreign candidate in the technology sector to live in, even though it is easy to secure a Japanese visa. 

The situation is more fluid in Singapore where everyone is familiar with social media. There is a thriving online community on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook where majority of the users communicate in English.

However, the government in Singapore enforces regulations that make it difficult for companies to recruit foreigners. It is difficult for foreign employees to secure long-term visas that permit them to work in Singapore, especially for non-technical roles. Ironically, the best talents in Singapore prefer to work overseas.

In conclusion, I can affirm that companies in Singapore and Japan encounter challenges in finding the best candidates for jobs. To overcome this problem, companies must adopt better recruitment strategies that should be expertly used to attract and retain the best candidates in the job market.

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Chiaya Hasegawa - R1987304's picture
Senior Consultant | Data & Software Engineering Recruitment


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