The way that Japanese workers operate is set to change dramatically in the post-COVID-19 world, meaning that digital solutions and online transformation will be critical in the coming year, according to recruiting experts Hays, as part of the country’s top 10 talent trends for 2021.
Due to the global pandemic and the subsequent ‘soft lockdown’, in 2020 companies were forced to modify operations, precipitating a transformation in how employees engaged with their jobs. With some two-thirds of domestic companies encouraging working-from-home practices, a theory has been mooted that the traditional salaryman lifestyle – epitomised by packed commuter trains and long days in the office – could be consigned to history.
“This societal shift means that in the coming year companies must reconfigure how they operate,” says Richard Eardley, Managing Director for Hays in Japan. “For many, the solution will be found in the digitalisation of their functions and moving systems into the cloud, so that hybrid and remote workers can perform their roles as seamlessly as if they were in the office.
“Away from coronavirus-related issues, 2020 saw Japan tackling concerns surrounding the use of big data and cybersecurity. New Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is currently spearheading efforts to establish a government entity called the Digital Agency, slated for early 2021, that will hopefully allay public fears over how organisations use customer data, and companies are preparing for the eventualities that this may inspire.
“And as ever, the issue of sourcing highly qualified, experienced and bilingual candidates is to remain an issue in Japan’s recruitment market. This is likely to be most pronounced in accountancy, where CPAs are in short supply, and in compliance, where finding candidates with the precise skills required is likely to pose the greatest challenge for employers.”
“All in all, with Japan seemingly having handled coronavirus concerns better than others, 2021’s jobs market is expected to be a year of not only recovery, but of potentially bouncing back to bigger and better than before.”

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