The company Cookbiz, which runs the job board of the same name focusing on the dining and food industries, conducted a survey about the employment of foreign staff. The survey targeted the dining companies and the results were published on March 18th. Participants were asked about the “Specific Skills” (tokutei-ginou in Japanese) visa. More than half of them answered that they “don’t know if we use it, but we know the name,” or “we don’t know about it.” Despite this, over half of participants answered that they were interested in hiring foreign workers on this visa status. This showed an overall high interest in employing foreigners with the “Specific Skills” visa. Furthermore, the most cited reason for dining companies to not hire foreign workers was “We didn’t have a reason to.”
Regarding how they gathered information about employing foreign staff, most participants answered “From television, newspapers, or other regular media,” (29.7%) and “We don’t gather that information at all” (23.4%). The survey results show clearly that employers in the dining industry have yet to gather all the specific information for this situation.
Survey participants were also asked if they have employed any foreign staff within the past year. 33.5% answered that they “employed foreign staff for both full and part time positions,” 27.9% answered that they “only employed foreign staff for part time positions,” 3.1% answered that they “only hired foreign staff for full time positions,” and 35.4% answered that they “didn’t hire any foreign staff at all.” Though 60% of participants overall answered that they only hired foreigners part time, more than half of the less than 5 small businesses that responded hired foreigners. This shows a large gap in the employment situations for companies depending on their size.
As for the reasons why they don’t hire foreign staff, most participants answered “We never had a reason to.” Other reasons included “We wouldn’t be able to communicate due to language and other problems,” and “We don’t have any talent to manage and train foreign staff.”
Dining companies that currently employ foreigners, or have done so within the past year were asked “What issues did you face when you hired foreign staff?” An overwhelming 50% answered that “It was difficult to communicate due to language and other problems.” Companies also answered that “We couldn’t manage or train them properly,” and “Employment processes such as applying for a visa were harder than expected.” Both of these answers were tied at 24.1%. Also, 15.7% of participants answered that “Foreign staff quit more easily than Japanese,” and 13% answered t hat “It was harder than expected to prepare to take them in, for example offering manuals in foreign languages.” The majority of answers were about communication difficulties.
The survey also asked about what preparations they made in their work environments for foreign staff. 47.6% answered that “We didn’t do anything especially.” There were a lot of cases where the companies felt some problems but didn’t know what they should actually do to address them.
Finally, the survey asked companies what they expect from their foreign staff in the future. 73.4% of them answered that “securing enough manpower amongst labor shortages” was important. On the other hand, 50% answered “Serving inbound customers,” and 23.4% answered “Product development for inbound customers and looking into ways to attract more customers.” This shows that expectations are high for dealing with inbound customers.
The survey targeted 158 dining establishments across Japan. It was conducted on the internet from February 25th to March 2nd, 2019.