Most foreign companies in Japan are “implementers” of company strategy rather than “developers” of it. This means that most global initiatives come from the head office, and local offices are expected to implement that initiative as best as they can. This, of course, can lead to all kinds of cultural problems as the language, business customs, and business laws of the individual countries create a reality that clashes with the grand vision.

One initiative that is particularly difficult to execute is getting a local project team ready as quickly as the head office has mandated. Some common examples: an Oracle development team of 10 people to be available within 6 weeks, or a special sales force with knowledge in drug delivery methods within 12 weeks. But the reality is that in Japan, when a special team is called for, candidates with the matching skill set are usually not available.

What to do? We have had two customers come to us recently with just this kind of problem. The first needed a large team of Oracle and SAP developers for a company-wide systems rollout, and the second needed a team of bilingual qualified MRs to support a new drug delivery system. In both cases, they wanted to have their own employees so that they could use them elsewhere in the company when the projects ended. It was clear that both of these types of candidates are in short supply, and that some “out-of-the-box” thinking was required.

And that’s something that is very good at. For the company needing developers, the solution proposed has been to team with our sister Systems Integration operation (which also does outsourcing) BiOS to deliver a two-stage solution. Stage one will start the project off by putting together a team comprised of both outsourced people and 2 core long-term permanent project manager/technology types. Then over the life of the project the intention is to replace the outsourced contractors with regular employees as they are recruited, with the original two core people developing into full-fledged managers.

Of course, the client could have thought of this solution and got their own contractors, but having the recruiter do it means continuity, commitment, and a better understanding of the type of people needed for the job.

For the company needing the MRs, weユre still working on it you can’t just go out and get contractors. But the thinking at this stage is to gather MRs from competing companies and offer them out-of-country training first in intensive English (bilingual capability is important so as to keep up with the technology coming in from overseas), and then in the delivery system itself. So long as the company signs a contract with each employee, we believe that we can arrange for the candidates to accept an Intern salary rateモ for the first six months.

The reason candidates would take a salary drop while training is because it is a career boost for them. Not only that, but if you also include the cost of living, then overseas language training in New Zealand or Australia is substantially cheaper than Japan. Practically speaking, with intensive language training, we can get candidates with weak English skills but good intelligence to be able to speak at intermediate level within their technical field within 6 months.