How to get a Job in Japan from India
Finding a job in Japan from India used to be hard – but things have changed. In this article, we introduce some ways how you can find work in Japan. For some of them, you won’t even have to leave your home!
Japan’s Current Job Market Situation
Japan is currently facing the problems of a shrinking population. Families are having fewer and fewer children, and as a result, the number of young Japanese entering the workforce each year is decreasing. In almost all industries, Japanese companies are having a hard time finding enough people to fill their positions.
The lack of talent is especially noticeable in the tech and engineering sectors. Over 85% of IT companies in Japan feel either a strong or moderate lack of engineers. This sentiment is shared across the board – from companies with less than 30 employees to those with 1000 and more.
Currently, around 35% of IT companies in Japan are employing foreigners. The top three countries where those foreigners come from are China, South Korea, and Vietnam. India has not yet entered the Top 10.
However, the number of Indians in Japan is increasing. In June 2020, around 39,764 Indians were living in Japan, almost a 20% increase from 2018. Out of those Indian nationals, 9,621 were holders of the “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa (+37% compared to 2018).
Jobs for Indians: IT Engineer
In Japan, engineers are needed across all job types – software engineering, system engineering, network engineering, web development, you name it. It would be no overstatement to say that if you have solid programming and development skills, IT is one of the easiest Japanese industries for foreigners to get into, probably only next to English teaching.
How to find a Job as an IT Engineer
OK, so IT engineers are in demand – that’s good to hear. But how do you actually find a job? There are three major ways, each of them with its pros and cons. We’ve listed them below.
Option 1: Searching and Applying Online
The internet offers a plethora of job board options. For work in Japan, the “big three” are Daijob, gaijinpot, and Jobs in Japan. But if you look a bit further, you’ll find even more: CareerCross, Robert Walters, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc. There are even specialized sites for IT engineers and developers, like tokyodev and japan-dev.
If you’re thinking about working in Japan, searching these sites is a good first step. You can do it from the comfort of your home, and finding open positions is a matter of seconds. You might even find one that suits you perfectly!
The drawback: The majority of jobs listed on these boards and websites require applicants to already live in Japan and have a valid working visa – one of the biggest hurdles for foreign job seekers. Also, especially the job adverts on the engineer-specialized sites tend to ask for quite a bit of experience. If you’re fresh out of university, getting such a job might be difficult.
Option 2: Short- to mid-term stay + job hunt
This option gets around the “needing a valid visa” part of many job requirements. The plan is to get a visa that allows you to stay in Japan for longer than a few weeks and search for jobs and do interviews while in the country.
If you want to go this route, you have a few different options:
- – University or Japanese Language School courses (Student Visa >>more info here)
- – Internship (Designated Activities Visa, among others >>more info here)
- – Private English Teacher or ALT work (Instructor OR Engineer/Specialist in Humanities Visa >>more info here)
It’s even possible to job-hunt on a tourist visa (short-term visa). That being said, unless you already have a few interviews lined up, 90 days might be a bit short for a successful job hunt. This is especially true if your Japanese level is low.
Option 3: Specialized Services
Many Japanese companies are recruiting students straight out of university. The main reason why companies in Japan are still hesitant to hire fresh graduates from abroad is that they are afraid of mismatches.
When hiring freshers, Japanese companies usually pay close attention to the applicant’s personality and character, even more so than their hard skills. Multiple rounds of face-to-face interviews are common practice – to make sure that the applicant is really a good fit for the company. Communicating across borders and language barriers makes this difficult.
However, attempts at bridging this gap are now being made. Zenken Corporation has launched a job placement service for engineers that enables Indian applicants to be hired by companies in Japan from India.
Here’s a quick rundown of the service’s main features:
- ✔ Sends you updates on open positions that match your skills, Japanese language level and other requirements
- ✔ Offers support such as advice on visa procedures
- ✔ Functions as a mediator between you and the company in Japan, preventing miscommunication
You start by creating a profile. For detailed instructions on how to do that, check this article. Otherwise, click the button below and jump right in!
Engineer Spotlight: Mushtaq
Mushtaq, with a background in Information Science, got his first job out of university as a .NET developer at Zenken Corporation in Shinjuku. The impetus was a recruiting event held at his university in Bengaluru.
When he first came to Japan, he knew barely any Japanese – in fact, just three phrases: こんにちは, どうもありがとうございます, and さようなら. Upon arriving in Japan, he attended Japanese classes for about 10 months while simultaneously taking up his developer responsibilities. Since then, he has become used to working in a Japanese environment and has even had the chance to
lead a small project of his own.
“I didn’t feel any pressure. My team knew that I was a fresher and I had no experience, and they were ready to train me on the job.” – Mushtaq
Jobs for Indians: Other options
Of course, there is also demand for work outside of IT. A popular first job for foreigners first coming to Japan is English teaching, mainly because jobs are plentiful and there are schools that accept applications from abroad. The requirements differ from school to school, but if you speak English fluently and don’t have a strong accent, you should be able to find a position.
Foreigners in Japan can also find jobs in…
- – International Consulting/Training
- – Export/Import and Logistics
- – Headhunting
- – Translation and Interpreting
- – Tourism and Hospitality
You can find out more about the jobs above in this article. Note that compared to IT and English teaching, almost all of these require a significant amount of Japanese language skills. Intermediate to advanced business Japanese (equivalent to about JLPT N2) is widely considered to be the minimum.
Because of Japan’s current population decline predicament, finding a job as a foreigner is easier than ever, almost regardless of the industry. As long as you have a university degree and speak Japanese on a high level, you can succeed. If you don’t speak Japanese and feel that you won’t be able to catch up with the required language level in time, IT engineering and English teaching are the two main sectors to focus on.