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Job volume down over 15% YoY in Japan’s financial services sector

The Morgan McKinley 2020 Salary Guide outlines permanent salaries for professional roles in Tokyo, as well as the most in demand skills and prominent market trends.


2019 really was a year of contrasts for hiring in Japan. Some industry sectors (like financial services and manufacturing) were more cautious in their hiring than in recent years. Other industry sectors such as tech, retail & hospitality were much more upbeat. In the commercial sectors Morgan McKinley saw a continuing trend to automate, outsource or offshore any manual or purely transactional functions. Tech saw continued demand, particularly in the sales (or other revenue generation) functions, and there was fierce competition for talent.


For a number of years now demand has outstripped supply. Established larger multinationals continue to have strong and consistent demand for senior sales professionals. Increasingly, however, a number of professionals are seeking opportunities in “start-up” environments (particularly pre-IPO); the potential rewards outweighing the risks of moving into less established brands.  


Hiring in the financial services sector was more subdued than in previous years. Morgan McKinley’s data would suggest that job volume was down roughly 15-20% year on year. Interestingly, the revenue generating functions probably felt this the most, with the operational and support functions staying relatively consistent in their hiring needs. This is a stark contrast to other sectors where the trend is completely the opposite. More organisations are moving to electronic platforms, which have less requirements for human resources. In the back and middle office functions, automation and AI are prevalent too, but these functions tend to require more oversight. 


An increasingly prevalent topic in the year was increased flexibility in the workplace. A significant number of organisations seems to have allowed increased flexibility in recent years, but employees are still struggling with their work/life balance. 


For the year ahead despite the recent regional issues, market sentiment by and large remains positive. For some the euphoria of hosting the Olympic games is likely to continue to boost the economy throughout 2020 and beyond. Others are a little more “bearish” predicting a post Olympics slump. 


Morgan McKinley’s outlook is perhaps a little more middle of the road, in that it anticipates a very similar amount of activity to 2019 hiring levels, in much the same industries and within the same functions.


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