April 7, 2017 2:00 pm JST

Fintech spurs rebound in finance job hopping

Japanese firms pulling more talent from foreign peers

Tokyo's Marunouchi business district. As they expand overseas, Japanese financial companies are attracting more young talent.

TOKYO -- Job turnover in Japan's financial sector has rebounded as both domestic and foreign institutions search for talent to meet their increasingly international and technical needs.

Tokyo-based JAC Recruitment, a leading recruiter for banks and other financial institutions, has seen its placements for the sector recover to pre-financial-crisis levels. From 2008 to 2012, its financial sector placements were mostly to fill vacancies, but companies have "pivoted to 'offensive' hiring" since 2013, according to Hiroshi Matsuoka, who heads the finance division at JAC.

JAC does not disclose its placement numbers, but it has noted a particular increase in mid-career hiring from Japanese financial institutions like megabanks and leading securities companies. Job openings in risk management, auditing, and IT systems management stand out as domestic companies expand into overseas markets and adopt financial technology. 

Turnover from foreign to Japanese companies has also increased. Prior to the financial crisis, 80% of finance placements were switches to foreign employers, but now movement in the other direction accounts for 60% of the total. Part of the reason is a shrinking pay gap. In addition, "more people want to want to make a career at Japanese financial institutions, which are growing their business," said Matsuoka.

Hiring tends to be restrained at Japanese regional banks owing to pressure on earnings from the Bank of Japan's negative interest rate policy. However, "as banks pivot from lending to fee-based businesses, their hiring needs for securities divisions are growing," according to Kanae Associates, a Tokyo-based human resources consultancy.

The rise of fintech is increasing demand for network engineers and information security managers in the finance sector.

Foreign financial companies are also moving to secure employees in their late 20s and early 30s, who are scarce owing to lean hiring after the crisis. Robert Walters Japan, the Tokyo arm of a recruiter out of London, has seen openings in the financial sector increase 90% over the past year compared with a year earlier. There have been many inquiries for young people who have studied abroad and can speak English, according to Joshua Bryan, a director at the consultancy.

(Nikkei)

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