Japan's hiring pattern has seen a change in the past few years. They have become more open to hiring foreigners, including fresh graduates from overseas. In fact the country has even facilitated this hiring process by introducing policies and establishing specialized vocational education. This has made it easier than ever for graduates fresh out of university to get more job opportunities.
There are some challenges in hiring foreign students - language barriers, cultural differences or required skills, but the fact is that hiring of foreigners by Japanese employers has been on a steady rise for the past few years. Before the pandemic hit in 2020, moving international travel to a standstill, there were approximately 75% foreign students acquiring part time jobs in Japan.
So if you are a fresh graduate, looking to find jobs in Japan, read on.
Top sectors hiring fresh graduates
These are some of the industries that fresh graduates are mostly hired by, especially foreign graduates.
This is one of the most sought after jobs for fresh graduates from outside Japan. Depending on how big or small the English teaching organization you are employed with, the monthly salary can go up to ¥300,000. Some international schools offer a higher salary, but they usually look for experienced teachers.
To apply as an English language teacher, you are expected to hold at least a bachelor's degree. If you are from a native English speaking country, that increases your chances of getting hired. YMCA, ECC (leading language school in Japan) etc are always on the lookout for hiring English language teachers, as are some universities.
Tech jobs - Engineering and Information Technology
Engineering graduates with good skills can easily find jobs in Japan in the engineering or technology sector. There are many industries here hiring engineers, like motor corporations, IT companies and so on.
To be eligible for getting a job in this sector, you must hold at least a bachelors degree in the relevant field. Some of the jobs don't require you to have Japanese language skills and have bridge engineers who can act as intermediaries.
There are a lot of corporate jobs which are open to fresh foreign graduates. Mostly these include
- Technical account managers
- Customer service executives
- Service personnel
Most of these jobs do require some Japanese language skills as well, but there are vacancies where you can start working while you work on learning the language.
A lot of the organizations hiring foreigners also have internships and training programs for people with no experience in the area and no knowledge of the Japanese language.
Apart from these job opportunities, there are many opportunities for fresh graduates if they come to Japan on a Working Holiday visa. You can start off with these part time opportunities, earn money while exploring the country and learning about their culture, and then settle for better full time opportunities.
Many of these jobs are in the more scenic rural areas of Japan - Sado, Okinawa, Hokkaido, Ibaraki etc, or seasonal jobs like farming in Mie, Kagoshima etc. Apart from these, you can find part time jobs in Tokyo as well in bars, restaurants, as tour guides etc.
Best time to apply
A new work year in Japan starts in April, which is when graduates generally start work. Some companies allow fresh graduates to even join in October which gives them enough time to finish their formalities. So an ideal time to apply would be during the winter term.
Requirements for working in Japan
Once you have found a job in Japan, you will need certain documents in order to come to the country and start working. This includes a Certificate of Eligibility which is issued by Japan's Ministry of Justice. Applying for this is a joint process between the employer and the employee and you will both be required to submit certain documents for it. Once you receive this document, you apply for your visa. Get in touch with your country's Japanese embassy to know the exact process.
The Japanese visa is different for different professions and kinds of work. There are industry-specific work visas (like journalists, business managers, engineers, skilled labor, researcher etc). If the company that has hired you is willing to sponsor your visa, they will usually know what kind of visa to apply for. But it is a good practice for you to also research the possibilities and be well informed.
If you want to work in Japan, it is also a good idea to invest in learning the Japanese language and start asap. This gives you an advantage over your peers. Many companies give heavy emphasis on this skill as it makes you ready for day-to-day communication in the corporate world. But do not be disheartened if you do not know the language. There are instances when you wouldn't have to speak a word of Japanese (although it would be good if you know the language) in your job profile. This is especially true if you end up working for a global company's Japan office.
Be prepared to work hard
Most of the companies hiring fresh foreign graduates have a training program designed for them. They usually train the graduates in multiple aspects of the company's work unless you have been hired for a specific skill. If you happen to be hired for knowing a specific language (e.g. English, French etc), the departments you might be working in can be narrowed down to a smaller number. But do remember that if you were hired for your language skills apart from a job-specific skill, you will be working closely with Japanese-speaking people. That is why such roles are usually given to international students who have been learning Japanese or have cleared the JLPT.
Most entry-level trainees undergo a rigorous training program (研修) in the company they are hired in.
Japan has many promising career opportunities for foreigners if you want to come to this country. Many countries also hold international job fairs or have exchange programs with Japanese universities which are good places to look for a job in Japan.