In recent years, there has been a major increase in the number of companies doing work related to inbound visitors to Japan. Many of these companies hire foreign staff – so what is the current situation like in that regard? Yamatogokoro Career, the company that runs the inbound tourism site of the same name, decided to find out. They conducted a survey regarding this issue and published the results on June 20 of this year.
According to the survey results, around 72.7% of companies involved in inbound tourism in some way are currently employing foreign workers. 13% of companies hired foreigners in the past, and 7.8% are thinking of hiring foreigners in the future. This means that around 90% of these companies are actively hiring, or thinking of hiring, foreign staff. Furthermore, among those that answered that they currently employ foreign workers, 89% answered that they feel there is merit to hiring them. Many companies answered that those merits were being able to smoothly exchange with overseas customers and companies and communicate with foreign visitors to Japan. Others said that they could resolve their staff shortages and deepen their understanding of other cultures.
On the other hand, as much as 87% of companies said that there were points about hiring foreign staff that they feel anxious about. Many of them are anxious about the following – differences in culture and customs, visa processes, quitting too fast （going back home and other reasons）. In addition, others mentioned aspects of communication （such as language and other reasons）, education and training after hiring, and supporting the lives of foreign staff in Japan （for example, with accommodation, education, and other things）.
Furthermore, over 70% of companies answered that they have a staff shortage. The top three industries that looked to hiring foreign staff for this issue were sales, planning, and Web/IT. When Yamatogokoro Career conducted this survey in 2015, sales, planning, and operators （as in, operators for travel arrangements） ranked in the top. The shift in the inbound tourism industry from group to individual customers has resulted in an expansion of IT activity, such as web marketing and system development.
87% of companies that responded also answered that, rather than new graduates and non-recent graduates, they hoped to hire mid-career and career staff. When broken down by industry, although the travel and accommodation industries wanted to hire not only mid-hire and career staff, but also new graduates and non-recent graduates, other industries were not looking to hire outside of mid-career or career staff. This shows a trend towards hiring workers who already have the necessary experience for the job.
When it comes to hiring foreign staff for inbound tourism related work, these companies want to solve their staff shortage problems, according to Yamatogokoro Career. Not only that, but many of them would also like to take advantage of foreign staff’s native language ability to smoothly communicate with travelers overseas and those visiting Japan. Also, companies feel that another merit of foreign staff is that they can use their unique perspectives to come up with ideas regarding products and services.
As of June 7, Yamatogokoro Career has 18,176 members. Among them, 45% are of foreign nationalities. Most of the foreign workers registered on the site are from Chinese speaking countries （including Taiwan and Hong Kong） at around 75%, followed by Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
This year’s “Inbound Staff and Foreign Staff Hiring Survey” was conducted from May 7 to May 22 of this year. It was aimed at companies that use Yamatogokoro Career, as well as members who subscribe to its mail magazine. The study was conducted in the form of a web survey. 77 companies answered, from industries such as travel, accommodation facilities promotion, consulting, tourism facilities, multilingual support, food and drink, government offices, local government, tourism organizations, airline companies, transport, retail and manufacturing, worker dispatch and introduction, web services, tourism information centers, data solutions, communications, and real estate.