Are foreign employees in Japan looking for new jobs in this economy? - GPlusMedia

Are foreign employees in Japan looking for new jobs in this economy?

Image: iStock/MangoStar_Studio

Recent news reports indicate that with rising cost of living and uncertainty in the Japanese economy, many would-be job seekers are staying put in their current positions.

According to Japan’s Labor Ministry, the ratio of employment openings to job seekers in April this year was 1.32, meaning there were 132 vacancies for every 100 applicants. (Source: NHK News)

This presents a dilemma for employers looking to fill open positions, as there are far fewer job seekers than the number of jobs available.

Is this also true of foreigners working in Japan?

GaijinPot’s marketing team recently analyzed our user traffic and job seeker application stats to see what the data might reveal about Japan-resident job seekers on

User traffic in Japan is up YoY

Foreign job seekers have flocked to GaijinPot Jobs this year, as the economy is recovering from the border closure. From January to May, unique users accessing GaijinPot Jobs from Japan were up 54.1% year-on-year. 

In May, user traffic coming from Japan to Jobs was up 4.8% YoY, a month when traditionally users are not as active on the site.

June also saw an increase in Japan-based unique users to GaijinPot Jobs of 8.5% YoY, while July traffic was flat.

The important takeaway from this is that historically, traffic is usually slow over the summer, the June spike suggested a second push among job seekers, notably among people who may not have found a fit during the spring hiring season.

Site traffic from the greater Tokyo area in May comprised about 55% of the traffic from the top ten most active regions in Japan, followed by Osaka (9.8%) and Kanagawa (9.5%).

Traffic throughout Japan was up on a year-on-year basis, not just in major cities.

User traffic to GaijinPot Jobs in May 2023, Top 10 regions in Japan. Source; Google Analytics, Image: GPlusMedia Inc.

Applications from Japan-based job seekers are up YoY

Applications from job seekers in Japan were also up year-on-year for the first five months of 2023, with especially high growth in January and February, during the heart of the hiring season.

Another key takeaway from the data is that applications were up 16.1% in April and up 5.4% in May, usually a period when most job candidates have already wound up their job search.

An opportunity to get the attention of post-peak candidates

We believe this is a post-peak hiring opportunity, in which people who didn’t find a job or didn’t find the right job are continuing their job hunt. Candidates aren’t giving up. This should give encouragement to employers who didn’t find exactly the right candidates during the traditional hiring season.

We think this environment offers an opportunity for employers to post or repost jobs, with the chance to attract candidates who didn’t find the right job in the spring.

Job applications submitted on GaijinPot Jobs, January to May 2023 v. YoY. Source: GaijinPot Jobs database, Image: GPlusMedia Inc.

Which job roles are seeing growth in applications?

Overall, applications were up 5.4% in May but certain job roles saw especially high interest, notably localization, translation and interpreting jobs.

The chart below shows a snapshot of selected industries. Note that education and training jobs grew 3.5% in May, despite the fact that many schools already filled all their positions during the traditional hiring period. If you are a school that still has open positions, GaijinPot Jobs currently has candidates in Japan who are actively applying for jobs.

Which job roles are seeing growth in applications? Source: GaijinPot Jobs database. Image: GPlusMedia Inc.

We saw declines in applications for IT and engineering positions, as well as overseas sales and accounting, HR and legal. Based on feedback from clients, many companies are raising application requirements, such as Japanese ability and skills in the post-COVID period, as they are looking for staff  who can immediately be on-boarded without training.

Job applications are up this summer

This report was originally written in June, before we had data for the summer months, but based on user trends, we projected that new user acquisition and applications would stay strong throughout the summer.

This was, in fact, what happened. Resident foreigner job applications have spiked over the last two months:

  • June: +14.1% YoY
  • July: +36.1% YoY

Job seekers in our database are very actively applying for jobs this summer.

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