The Benefits of Working at a Tech Company in Japan
Living abroad and interested in a tech career in Japan? Or are you already living in Japan and thinking of finding work in Japan’s growing tech industry? Either way, we’ll give you an overview about some of the benefits of working at a tech company in Japan.
A Massive Market, with Incredible Potential
With a population of over 126 million and the world’s third largest economy, Japan is very much an important market for the tech sector. In addition to being the home of major domestic tech companies, many large Western tech companies have offices in Japan while the country has also experienced a boom in tech startups in recent years.
All of this means that there are plentiful opportunities for IT professionals, tech engineers and others with specialized technical skills. Moreover, the decline in the Japanese population is accelerating demand for foreign hires, with, by some estimates, a shortage of 600,000 IT-related jobs by 2030. As a tech employee in this massive market, you may have a chance to get involved in very exciting work that influences a very large number of people.
Japanese business culture
Now before you immediately decide to apply for a tech job in Japan, it’s worth taking some time to learn more about Japanese business culture. This is very different from how business is conducted in other countries, and is something you are likely to encounter regardless of whether you are working in a Japanese tech company, a foreign tech company with an office in Japan, or a new startup.
We could make an entire post solely about business culture, but here are some brief examples:
- Japanese offices tend to be very egalitarian and open. If your job involves office work, you may find yourself working in a large office space sitting directly next to other colleagues, rather than a closed-off cubicle. You may find that this lack of closed offices and cubicles makes it easier to communicate with colleagues.
- Your job title or job description may not be explicitly defined, or you’ll be asked to take on work that was not in whatever job description was provided. This may come as a surprise, yet taking that as a chance to demonstrate flexibility may ultimately give you more experience and broader exposure to work in your field.
- The office environment may be more subdued, but office politics and mobbing are less of an issue than in other countries. Most likely, you’ll find that Japanese coworkers are very cooperative and not so competitive as in the west, so you can enjoy a harmonious work environment.
- Japanese tend to have a high sense of professionalism. Being punctual and keeping one’s word are highly valued traits, and employees work hard to achieve their tasks.
- Japanese have a strong work ethic. Some may decry the long hours of overtime in Japan, but as a non-Japanese employee, you will probably not be expected to do significant overtime most of the time (and if you do, companies do compensate for it!). Particularly within the tech industry, you may have the ability to work at home or schedule flexible hours around a core timeframe.
One of the greatest benefits to working in Japan is job stability. Traditionally, Japanese companies in almost every industry would virtually guarantee lifetime employment. While that has been changing somewhat, most companies will not easily lay off employees simply because of poor economic performance in a particular fiscal year.
Then while salaries within Japan’s tech industry, especially among domestic companies, may seem a little lower than those in the west, it’s important to consider a number of other factors that may come into play. For example, Japanese companies typically will cover the cost of your commuting expenses despite not necessarily being required by law. Some companies will also provide subsidies for housing or significant discounts (if not free) on the use of company properties such as vacation rentals or other recreational facilities.
Tech companies in Japan may also be willing to support you in gaining additional skills and qualifications. Since they take such a long-term approach with employees, viewing them as assets rather than as an expendable resource, companies may help cover the cost of learning a new programming language, getting certified, attending seminars or simply studying Japanese. At the very least, most companies will be happy to provide on-the-job training as long as you’re willing to learn.
No Japanese? No problem!
Of course, that’s not to say you should not learn Japanese. Having any degree of Japanese skill will, first and foremost, make you a more desirable applicant, allow you to command a higher salary (commensurate with your skill level) and certainly make your personal and professional life in Japan much easier.
Finally, it’s also worth considering how working at a tech company in Japan will affect you. Adapting to the Japanese work environment may help you become more mature and professional, developing time management skills and punctuality in addition to expanding your coding or other technical ability.
Depending on your interest in Japanese, working in a Japanese environment will dramatically improve your language skills. Being surrounded by Japanese coworkers, attending meetings in Japanese (if applicable), and learning to read and write emails in Japanese means that you’ll have ample opportunities to practice. Moreover, your coworkers will be very supportive and encouraging of your efforts to communicate.
While not always easy, living and working in a foreign country can be incredibly stimulating and personally rewarding. Beyond all of the interesting work you’ll get to do in your career within the world’s third largest economy, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the other benefits to life in Japan including delicious food, excellent travel, and fascinating culture, not to mention public safety anywhere you go.
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Jobs for Foreign Software Engineers
Japan’s IT Industry
- Characteristics of the Japanese IT Industry
- Japanese Language Levels for IT Industry Jobs
- The Benefits of Working at a Tech Company
- The Disadvantages of Working at a Tech Company