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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Professionals (Consulting, Auditor, etc.)||609||632||536||497|
|Electrical, Electronics, Mechanics||484||491||392||383|
|Medical, Science, Food||404||434||363||337|
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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).
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.