Recently, I have been getting requests from companies outside Tokyo looking for skilled staff. Although these are name-brand firms and they normally would get oodles of responses from applicants in Tokyo, for some strange reason positions outside Tokyo seem to be of little interest – in fact, the further away from Tokyo the job is, the less responses we get though our online channels. The exception being when the job is outside Japan – then people are interested again.

Companies that operate outside Tokyo are typically large multinational chains that are simply going where their markets are. Hotels, cinemas, consumer goods outlets, and others. The jobs range from senior management positions to entry-level opportunities, and often, because the jobs are away from Tokyo, English is not so important (although hotel people do a lot better career-wise if they have English ability).

Obviously, there are many reasons why people don’t want to work outside Tokyo. Being removed from the career ladder at the central office, difficulty of getting a decent education for the kids, and just simply not being able to go shopping and enjoy the convenience of a big city.I guess that younger Japanese employees don’t value a natural environment, low prices, good accommodation, commuting by car, and other benefits…

There are two ways to combat this shortage of quality applicants. First, we are now working with various local governments and suppliers to help refer people in the district, so that relocation doesn’t come up. The problem is that often the local people don’t have the skill set needed, so intensive (and expensive) training is required. The second way is to bring people in who don’t mind the relocation.

Our solution for doing this is to focus on returnees from the USA. About two years ago, DaiJob invested in a campus recruiter in the USA called (CCC). This company has a unique system that allows it to identify subgroups of nationals within the US university system and to register them in its jobs database. As many of you will know, the US allows foreign students to do OPT (Optional Practical Training) for up to 12 months after the completion of studies, and almost everyone who gets a degree in the US does OPT. Therefore, such students have a good incentive to sign up with CCC and eventually hook into when they are getting ready to come home.

What we’re finding is that if someone has studied for 2-3 years in a small university town in Ohio, they’re certainly not going to worry about working for a brand name multinational in Hokkaido, Saga, or somewhere similar…

If your company needs to hook into Japanese returnees from US universities, please drop me a line at