Talent Shortage in Japan's Consulting Job Market

Japan talent shortage

By Yao Tang - Business Development

With labour shortages challenging growth, companies across all sectors in Japan face the dilemma of attracting and retaining top talent while upholding stringent standards. As many of Vencon Research’s local clients have shared with us, this is also a critical concern within the consulting industry.

Maintaining high standards in recruitment remains crucial. Lowering stringent entry requirements is still considered a last resort as businesses strive to secure top talents without compromising quality.

Current Challenges in Japan’s Talent Market:

With Asia's largest economy centered in Tokyo, Japan faces unique challenges in its job market. Major factors contributing to this include:

1. Discrepancy in Demand and Supply: Japan, housing Asia's largest and most diverse economy, centered in Tokyo, grapples with a talent shortage despite a low unemployment rate of 2.70%. Factors like the post-COVID economic resurgence, an aging population, and globalization contribute to a surge in demand for specialized talents, particularly in fields like consulting.

Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications, October 2023

2. Lack of Talent Fluidity: The prevalent job-for-life mentality in Japan poses a significant hurdle to talent mobility. Extracting employees from entrenched positions is challenging due to deep-seated loyalty and risk aversion. Traditional Japanese firms, known for stability, discourage job changes, presenting recruitment challenges for employers.

3. High Cost of Talent Recruiting: Japan's agency culture expedites hiring but inflates recruitment expenses. Steep provisions, reaching up to 100% of a successful candidate's annual salary, pose financial challenges. Even tier-1 consulting firms face provisions of around 80%, contributing to inefficient recruitment processes.

Strategies to Navigate the Challenges:

As employers grapple with attracting and retaining top talent while upholding rigorous standards, strategic solutions come to the forefront, from investing in employer branding to streamlining recruitment processes:

1. Invest in Employer Branding: Highlight your company's unique culture, values, and growth opportunities through social media, employee testimonials, and industry accolades to attract top talent.

2. Develop Talent Pipelines: Forge partnerships with universities, professional organizations, and industry networks to identify potential candidates proactively, ensuring a steady stream of qualified candidates.

3. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Conduct market research to ensure competitive compensation packages. Consider additional perks, such as flexible work arrangements and wellness programs, to attract and retain talent.

4. Provide Training and Development: Invest in training programs to upskill employees and attract candidates valuing continuous learning. Offer opportunities for professional growth to increase satisfaction and retention.

5. Streamline Recruitment Processes: Optimize recruitment processes using technology, such as applicant tracking systems and video interviews, to reduce time-to-hire and enhance the candidate experience.

6. Cultivate a Positive Candidate Experience: Ensure a positive and professional experience throughout the recruitment process. Communicate transparently, provide timely feedback, and personalize the experience to make candidates feel valued.

One common factor uniting these initiatives is that they all underscore a commitment to securing and retaining top talent. Organizations implementing these will pave the way for a more robust and adaptable workforce, ensuring sustained success, even within a difficult landscape for talent acquisition.

Our focus at Vencon Research is on leveraging market data to devise competitive compensation solutions tailored to your needs. Our expertise lies in optimizing employer branding, streamlining recruitment processes, and offering strategic HR solutions. For further insights and to explore how our expertise can benefit your organization, please feel free to contact us.