Average salaries for Young Professionals in Japan

Average salaries for Young Professionals in Japan

How much income can you earn in Japan? Detailed information about typical salaries in Japan for your age group let you know what to expect and plan ahead.

Normally, data on average salary lumps together incomes of people regardless of age, position or gender. Especially at the beginning of your career, when you are just starting out, such data does not give you a realistic estimate.

Using data from a 2017 study by DODA, a Japanese job site, we bring you detailed data, all broken down by gender and age.

AgeProfessionIndustryRegionTrendMore

Average income in Japan by age

Japanese graduates start their first job in their early 20s. Accordingly, there is a strong increase in income of around 30% in the late 20s, after a few years of work experience.

Age Total
Total Male Female
20 277 308 248
21 286 310 261
22 279 293 263
23 293 305 280
24 320 333 304
25 342 357 321
26 360 376 338
27 376 393 349
28 388 408 355
29 402 425 359
30s 455 487 386
40s 541 587 423
50s 661 707 445

This annual salary is before taxes and inclusive of any bonus payments you may receive. Bonus payments vary strongly by company, for realistic estimates of monthly salary divide by 12-16.

Average income of Japanese employees in their 20s.

The income distribution among employees in their 20s is highly concentrated around ¥3,000,000 per year. Regardless of the position, most companies will hire new graduates at roughly the same starting salary, since the first 1-2 years are often considered as training periods by employers.

Average income of Japanese employees in their 30s.

With age and experience salaries increase. In their 30s, 60% of employees in Japan have annual incomes of more than ¥4,000,000.

Income by profession

The more specialized the profession, the higher the income you can expect. This rule of thumb also holds true for Japan, still, there is a lesser spread in incomes than you would find in America and some other countries.

Job Total Male Female 20s
Professionals (Consulting, Auditor, etc.) 609 632 536 497
Management, Planning 520 568 439 391
Electrical, Electronics, Mechanics 484 491 392 383
Sales 443 464 379 372
IT, Communications 463 478 401 370
Construction, Engineering 414 423 358 347
Finance 425 579 354 342
Medical, Science, Food 404 434 363 337
Creative 380 410 345 316
Administration, Assistant 329 379 314 298
Sales, Service 326 350 295 294

Income by industry

It is no secret that some companies pay better than others, but which industries offer the most generous salaries in Japan? Except for maybe the trading companies at the top this list equals more or less what we can see in other industrialized countries.

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Industry Total Male Female 20s
General Trading 478 523 386 385
IT, Communications 446 492 395 372
Finance 450 532 368 368
Maker 465 498 372 365
Construction, Real Estate 419 447 345 358
Medical 453 524 370 352
Internet, Advertising, Media 413 447 368 349
Professional Trading 406 435 341 341
Service 379 414 332 323
Retail, Dining 359 389 312 310

Income by region

In metropolitan areas with lots of industry, salaries tend to be higher. The salary is one reason why that many people want to work in the Kanto area. Despite considerable differences in salary by region, it seems that the percentage of income used on living expenses is relatively constant, regardless of where one lives in Japan.

Map of Japan

Area Total
Total Male Female
Kanto 440 484 370
Tokyo 452 499 389
Kanagawa 448 498 360
Chiba 424 467 344
Ibaraki 416 449 335
Tochigi 413 446 326
Saitama 411 450 336
Yamanashi 404 437 322
Gunma 403 430 332
Tokai 406 440 327
Aichi 406 443 327
Gifu 392 422 318
Mie 403 437 324
Shizuoka 412 440 335
Kansai 395 435 329
Kyoto 383 419 328
Shiga 394 430 320
Osaka 394 433 331
Nara 390 434 313
Hyogo 406 450 331
Wakayama 373 405 310
Chugoku/ Shikoku 386 416 318
Ehime 388 418 307
Okayama 385 414 311
Hiroshima 386 420 314
Kagawa 383 409 314
Kochi 379 405 318
Yamaguchi 395 422 327
Tottori 386 412 323
Shimane 369 387 319
Tokushima 387 418 333
Hokushinetsu 385 412 315
Niigata 362 384 301
Ishikawa 388 422 306
Nagano 400 428 325
Toyama 392 418 326
Fukui 391 413 326
Hokkaido/ Tohoku 377 406 312
Iwate 390 410 324
Miyagi 382 413 320
Yamagata 384 412 306
Akita 383 413 305
Aomori 372 391 315
Fukushima 384 405 316
Hokkaido 371 402 306
Kyushu/ Okinawa 372 405 311
Okinawa 356 385 301
Miyazaki 372 394 319
Kumamoto 376 403 311
Saga 361 381 316
Kagoshima 369 396 304
Oita 380 409 303
Nagasaki 377 411 308
Fukuoka 373 409 312

Average income trend

The average income in Japan 2017 was ¥4,180,000 ($38.000), a decrease from the ¥4.420.000 in 2016. This downward trend has continued over the past 10 years.

As culprits for the decrease in average salary, an increase in irregular employment, the sluggish economy, and ongoing inflation. To a lesser degree, more frequent job changes might also contribute to this phenomenon since many companies still tend to increase salaries based on years worked for the company.

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Average income in Japan from 2008 to 2017.

Despite the decrease in average income, in an effort to attract skilled staff, various Japanese companies are starting to pay foreign hires more than before.

More on income

Gender Wage Gap

A significant gender gap across all professions and age groups is apparent in the data, which cannot be explained away by mothers and housewives (this study only considers full-time employment).
According to an OECD study from 2017, women in Japan earn 24.5% less than the median wage of their male counterparts. This puts Japan into the bottom three of all OECD member countries, with the gender wage gap in the United States lying at 18.2%, and European countries like Denmark leading the wage equality movement at 5.7%.
One significant reason for this gap is the small number of women in managing positions.

Minimum wage

Minimum wage in Japan is not decided on a national level but set by each prefecture. An industry based minimum wage system also exists. The average minimum wage in Japan is ¥848/hour and at an all-time high.

The highest minimum wage is paid in Tokyo with ¥958/hour and the lowest in Kyushu and Okinawa with ¥737/hour.

Salary raise

Aside from your job and skills, time at the company and age are factors that companies take into account when setting salaries and give raises. In your first year, it is not unusual to get a raise of only a few ¥1,000 per month. This will increase exponentially with your performance and time at the company.

Bonus payments

Bonus payments are common in many Japanese companies and are typically paid once or twice per year. Similar to the raise, don’t expect too much during your first year. How much bonus one receives depends on the employee’s performance and standing, as well as the company’s profits. As a rough average, for professionals, up to 4 months’ salary can be expected as annual bonus payments (before taxes).

More details

Find out more about your net income by looking into the tax system in Japan (they are relatively low). For information about salaries at a specific company look on Japanese company review sites like glassdoor, were users share their positions, income and additional information about their experience.

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Madelaine

After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.