This post contains affiliate links.
Working and living in Japan has become an exciting dream for a lot of people around the world. Japan’s beautiful culture and awe-inspiring cities have made the country highly attractive to foreigners. But, is it hard for a foreigner to find a job inJapan to make this dream a reality?
The difficulty level of finding a job in Japan as a foreigner can depend on certain aspects such as your education, your level of work experience, and the demand for your field of work in the country. If you have a degree and good work experience in a highly demanded field, it can be easy.
What jobs are popular for foreigners in Japan? Do you need to speak fluent Japanese to work in Japan? Let us go through these questions along with other information to help you understand this process better.
Is It Difficult To Get A Job In Japan As A Foreigner?
The answer to this question is: yes and no. The difficulty level of finding a job in Japan as a foreigner depends on a few aspects, including your education, language abilities, and the demand or lack thereof for your particular skill set.
If you have a degree in a business sector with a great demand for your skills, then the process can be quite easy, with the only drawn-out process is getting your working visa, which can be challenging. However, if you do not have a degree, you may not find a job in Japan as easily.
Suppose you have a degree and are multi-lingual, meaning that you can speak Japanese and your native language well. In that case, you may actually be in demand in multiple business sectors as Japanese companies want people who can communicate well with other companies in different countries, which can help broaden their business prospects.
Experience in certain fields is also a major factor in getting a job in Japan as a foreigner. This is because the companies in Japan only want to hire experienced workers that they will not need to train up themselves.
In Japan, you need to have at least five years of working experience in your field to be considered a professional, so if you have five years of experience or higher, then your chances of getting hired to have gone up.
If you do not have a dual language skill and do not have a degree or experience in a business field, your chances of finding a job in Japan are slim to none.
Popular Jobs In Japan For Foreigners
As a foreigner, there are plenty of available jobs, given that you have the right degrees and some experience. However, some jobs in Japan seem to attract more foreign workers than others. Let us go over the jobs that are the most popular among foreigners in Japan.
Working As An Interpreter/Translator
There is always a need for language translation in Japan, not just between English and Japanese, but also for other languages. Many of these translation jobs are in Japan’s huge gaming sector as game localization and testing is needed in multiple languages.
Interpreters and translators can also do much freelance work in Japan, including translating written works and assisting business people visiting Japan.
Working As An IT Professional
Many Japanese companies hire foreign IT professionals like software programmers and engineers. This sector is actually the second most common sector for foreigners to work in Japan, with the first teaching English. This is because, in most of these IT jobs, very little Japanese language ability is required.
Working As Service Staff
For this job, you are still required to speak passable Japanese as you will still need to interact with Japanese people, but it is possible to find work in the service industry as a foreigner. The places where foreigners can find a job in this field include resorts and hotels and cafes/restaurants in tourist areas.
These places will most likely hire foreigners for their dual-language skills, which would be an asset to their business.
Finding A Job In Japan As A Foreigner
To work in Japan, you need to ensure that you have the right requirements to qualify for a working visa. The requirements are a degree, a valid passport, a job lined up already, and you will need to liaise with the Japanese embassy in your country.
So, how do you find a job in Japan to help with your visa? Well, first, you need to get a degree in your chosen business field. Once you have this, then you need to get some work experience to make the process easier.
Then you can use job finding websites such as gaijinpot.com or daijob.com. These websites are a great resource for foreigners who are looking for jobs in Japan, as you can apply for a job through them.
Another way to find a job is to contact businesses in Japan in your field and contact them directly to see if they are hiring.
If you would like to teach English in Japan, you will need a degree and a TEFL certificate from a registered TEFL course. Once you have these, the place where you studied your TEFL qualification usually has a job board that you can look at, and they might be able to help place you at a school in Japan.
Do I Need To Speak Japanese To Work In Japan?
If you want to work in Japan, then learning Japanese will most probably be a must, but this does not mean that you need to speak it fluently before you go. There are plenty of jobs in Japan that requires other languages, especially English.
So, if you are a fluent English speaker, this can be a good asset to have when seeking jobs in Japan. Let us go through some jobs where English is actually a requirement.
Teaching English In Schools As A Foreign Langauge
This is often referred to as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and is an important aspect of Japanese schools. If you want to go into the business sector in Japan, then knowing how to speak English is a must, and it is an attractive language to add to their resumes.
This is because Japanese businesses like to do business with western countries, which requires a good understanding of the English language. For this reason, millions of Japanese people want to learn English, and almost all of these students prefer to learn English from a native speaker.
You do need to ensure that you take a TEFL course before you start applying for this kind of job as this will show that you are adept in English as you will have some credentials behind your name in the subject.
Jobs In Tourism
This is another business sector where being able to speak English may help you find a job. This is because a large number of visitors that go to Japan are from English-speaking countries. Although they make up a small amount compared to other Asian countries, the number is still large.
The United States alone had 195,000 visitors go to Japan in the first two months of 2019. This is a rise of over 12% compared to previous years.
While not all these visitors are tourists as some are there for business, many people go there to visit. Tourist-oriented companies are always on the lookout for fluent English speakers to help communicate with these visitors.
Jobs In The Digital Economy
Japan has a huge technology business sector; the scale of this sector makes it the most important center in Asia for IT. The size of this sector means that large companies like Amazon and Google have a major presence in the country.
If you have the skills for this sector, then you can try to get a job with one of these companies where English is still the working language, even in Japan. It may still be important to learn Japanese in this sector, but you can take a bit more time to learn the language.
If you can act like a bridge to English-speaking countries through this sector, then you may find yourself in high demand.
Finding a job in Japan as a foreigner can be challenging if you do not have the good skill set that the country is looking for. But in some cases, it can actually be quite easy, and with some jobs, you may not even need to learn Japanese to apply for the job, which can make the challenging process a little bit easier for foreigners. Good luck with your job hunt in Japan!