Japanese companies show increase in foreign hiring

Demand for foreign students in Japan has been strong in recent years, as Japanese companies have been assigning local people to their overseas branches after training in Japan.

Additionally, the boom in tourism continues to spark demand for foreign students in hotels, retail and other areas of the hospitality industry.

The number of foreign students granted working visas has risen for six years in a row to 19,435 in 2016, up 24.1 percent from 15,657 in 2015 and 12,958 in 2014.

The peak before the global recession in 2008 was 11,040.

This does not necessarily mean all foreign students land jobs easily.

What Japanese companies look for in them are strong Japanese language skills, a good understanding of Japanese business etiquette and communication and engineering degrees.

“Demand is particularly strong from companies in the information technology and engineering fields.
Some of those positions do not require high Japanese skills,” said Takehiko Tsuda of the Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners.

Non-Japanese often use the Japanese Language Proficiency Test to objectively test their Japanese skills.

The test is ranked from N5 to N1, with N1 being the highest level.

“Some companies still look for people with N1, but the recent trend is that they look for skills equivalent to N1, as they are aware that some Japanese companies show increase in foreign hiring foreign students can communicate in Japanese without the certification,” he said.

The center holds job fairs three times a year.

At the most recent one in July, some 100 companies attended the fair to meet roughly 1,815 foreign job seekers in one day, up from around 1,535 last year, according to Tsuda.

“I feel that an increasing number of companies that have no experience hiring foreigners are braving the first step to hire them,” Tsuda said.
It is also said that foreign students should work part-time in Japan to learn about Japanese work culture.

Working while attending school is not possible in many countries, but it is possible in Japan, with regulations allowing foreign students to work 28 hours a week and longer during summer and winter vacations.

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