The Importance of Employer Branding in Japan

As is widely known Japan is the world’s most difficult market for talent. I’ve made several posts explaining that not only is the visible talent pool extremely small but the recruiting talent skill set is not as advanced as other markets such as the US. This all results in Japan having a very low direct sourcing capability compared to other countries and a heavy reliance on expensive recruitment agencies.

I’d like now to highlight another obvious solution for our clients and something that we’ve been increasingly focused on for our RPO programs under ManpowerGroup Solutions.

In 2016 75% of working Japanese had been in their jobs for 3 years or more. 44% hadn’t changed jobs for 10 years, and of those 22% had been in their jobs for 20 years or more. You can safely write these people off as “unlikely” to apply to your job vacancy ad; they are essentially out of the market.

In fact only 8% of employees in Japan changed jobs in 2015 or 2016, contrasting to the US where 22.6% of employees changed jobs in 2016, or to neighboring Korea where 31.5% of people changed jobs in the same year.

Going after active candidates this year means you are entirely dependent on fishing in a red ocean. Every single would-be employer is chasing the same talent. In all that noise how will your brand – as a potential employer – stand out?

While you have to hire now for this years business, you also need to take next years talent pool seriously and get your name in front of them before the carnage begins. 15% of the market won’t be ready to move for the next couple of years, but in the same way Coca Cola advertises their brand to get you to remember Coke at the convenience store, it makes sense to get your brand in front of “passive” candidates so they know you when they begin their journey of becoming “active” candidates.

This is the basic logic behind the importance of Employer Branding and it is something our RPO clients are beginning to take more and more seriously. There are channels that work and channels that don’t, so strategy is the next thing to consider.

If your company is struggling to stand out perhaps we can help.

Source: Japan Institute of Labour & Training Policy, Databook of International Labour Statistics (2018)

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