My earlier post about a story this month in the New York Times seems somewhat contradicted by the findings in this survey sent to me by a Japanese colleague: http://www.disc.co.jp/en/resource/pdf/RecruitmentTrendsJapan.pdf
Increasingly, companies are seeking Japanese nationals with study abroad experience. In a recent DISCO survey o f 1174 companies, 23.7% of companies will be looking to hiring Japanese nationals studying overseas in their 2012 recruitment cycle, compared to 18.4% in the previous year.
Japanese students with study abroad experience are generally able to converse in English, and it is hoped they have also developed vital intercultural communication skills. Students willing to develop basic communication skills such as English, higher level skills such as intercultural effectiveness and further gain experiences in emerging markets that firms are entering will do well in overcoming any constriction in the labour market. Corporations throughout Japan understand that adaptation will be necessary to compete globally
The increase is not large but the trend appears to be positive when compared to the slowdown in the Japanese economy since 2008. Another interesting finding was that Japanese companies have a new interest in hiring international students studying in Japan. This new trend reflects the interest in expanding to new Asian markets such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. The government has set a goal to double the number of international students studying in Japan from the current 150,000 to 300,000 by 2020. The growth of the international student market has taken awhile – when I went to Japan on my Fulbright in 1987, the government sought to increase the number to 100,000 by an unspecified date. So this policy goal will have stretched over a 30 year period.