Engineer Salaries in Japan 2019 – Averages by Position

Engineer Salaries in Japan 2019 - Averages by Position

What salaries can you realistically expect as an engineer in Japan? Gain insight into the average income in a variety of IT-related positions.

IT jobs are among the top 10 highest paying professions in Japan. Japan has a high demand for people with IT skills and companies are increasingly looking for foreigners to meet their needs. To create lasting working relations, companies are opening up, by reducing Japanese requirements, hiring English staff, and otherwise lowering the hurdles for foreigners.

Income data is provided by gender across all ages, and for people in their 20s to provide concrete and realistic salary expectations. Salaries are shown in units of ¥10.000.

IT/Communications

The average salary for an engineer in IT/Communications in 2019 was 4,570,000 JPY. Male engineers made 4,760,000 JPY per year on average, women 3,930,000 JPY. The average yearly salary for young people in their 20s was 3,730,000 JPY. For more details, see the table below.

Position Male Female 20s
Average 476 393 373
Project Manager 673 535 472
Presale 665 503 445
IT Consultant 644 500 463
R & D Engineer 571 454 426
Data Scientist 533※ 467※ 449
IT Strategist / System Planner 618 468 409
System Implementation Engineer 468 401 386
Server Engineer 474 395 385
Database Engineer 433※ 341※ 362
Network Engineer 474 351 373
Application Developer 451※ 393※ 370
System Engineer / Programmer 437 381 366
System Developer 488 403 371
Web Service Engineer 444 382 372
Control System Software Engineer 454 360 355
Technical Support 438 380 351
Operation & Maintenance Engineer 389 351 333
Debug / Testing 407 345 318
Help Desk 353 336 306

Salaries in 10,000 Yen.
※No data available for employees in their 40s, and or 50s, leading to smaller average income.

Electrical/ Electronic/ Mechanical

Position Male Female 20s
Average 476 382 383
Product Planning Engineer 577 458 422
Circuit Design Engineer 554 427 414
Field Application Engineer 512※ 451※ 414
Process Engineer 500 386 406
Mechanical Designer 494※ 400※ 406
Control Design Engineer 481※ 385※ 388
Project Manager 586 423 355
Quality Control 475 358 361
Evaluation/ Experiment Engineer 447 369 374
Service Engineer 452 373 378
Production Control 489 427 394
CAD Operator 374※ 309※ 312
CAE Analyst 486※ 385※ 386
Manufacturing Engineer 367※ 273※ 323
Evaluation/ Debug Engineer 402※ 320※ 359
Mechanic 392※ 355※ 345

Source: doda 「平均年収ランキング2019」, published on January 20th, 2020.
The ranking is based on survey answers of 400,000 Japanese engineers.

More about your income

Entry-Level

Looking at entry-level jobs, expecting to get the above pay from the first year is not realistic. Top-paying companies can give you a salary of up to ¥300.000 per month. However, most entry-level jobs (for the average, 22-year old university graduate with little practical work experience) start at around ¥200.000.

If you’re used to numbers like you can find them in the US, this (as well as the overall average) might seem low but is considered to be normal. It’s a potential/safety tradeoff – it’s very hard for Japanese companies to outright fire regular full-time employees ( 正社員せいしゃいん), so job security is pretty high.

Generally speaking, the bigger the company, the higher your entry-level salary is going to be. According to data from the National Personnel Authority (NPA, 人事院じんじいん), the average starting salary at a company with 100 to 500 employees is 3% higher than at a company with 50 to 100 employees. And companies with over 500 employees pay 3% more than those with 100-500. Keep in mind that these are just statistics – in the real world, “high salary” doesn’t automatically have to mean “big company”.

Many companies will only put an income range in the job ad, deciding your actual income based on your skills, sometimes also taking your age into consideration. A higher degree in your field means more pay right from the start. However, the gap often isn’t very big, to the point that it’s not worth to stay in university for a few years longer just to get that little bit of extra money. Most Japanese students start working with the typical 4-year BA (学士号がくしごう).

Income Gap

The difference in average income for women and men in the table is not the nominal difference for the same work. Part of the imbalance is caused by the fewer number of women in senior positions. That said, Japan’s gender wage gap is one of the biggest in developed countries. It is a work in progress, but Japanese companies (maybe too late, maybe too little) have started moving to address issues of equality and empowering women in the workplace.

More information

For more info, check out job ads and websites like Glassdoor, where Japanese (ex)employees post reviews of their companies. These can be a good additional information source on typical pay for a specific position or company. However, when looking at reviews you should keep in mind that a dissatisfied employee is more likely to write one than someone who’s happy with their job.

You might find that Japanese people won’t be forthcoming with information about their income, as it is not customary in Japan to discuss salary, especially among coworkers.
If you do have concerns regarding unfair payment, hoping for a raise or anything, consult with HR or a superior you trust.

Get a job in Japan

Do you have a background in engineering are looking for jobs in Japan? Diversity HR, a placement service for foreign engineers, sends you updates on open positions. The service is open for everyone currently residing in Japan and other parts of Asia. Click the button below for more info. (If you feel ready, you can also jump straight to the entry form.)

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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.