ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Technology

Japan data scientists earn 30% less than Chinese counterparts

Country also trails Singapore and Hong Kong in tech job salaries, study finds

Cybersecurity consultants in Japan earn less than their counterparts in some other Asian countries. (Photo provided by Fujitsu)

TOKYO -- Japan lags mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore in a key factor in securing skilled information technology workers -- pay.

Data scientists in Japan earn up to $109,000 a year, compared with about $146,000 in mainland China, according to Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan, which based its figures on job changes it brokered in 2018 and 2019.

Such cases provide a glimpse of the competition Japanese companies face from Asian peers in hiring talent in international, technology-driven fields.

"Corporate culture in Japan needs to change to one that values skills and experience, rather than seniority," said Michael Craven, U.K.-based Hays' regional director for Japan.

Pay gaps are evident in other tech jobs. Cybersecurity consultants -- a shortage of which has become more acute ahead of this year's Tokyo Olympics -- earn less in Japan than in some other Asian markets.

Their pay tops out at about $118,000 in Japan, higher than in mainland China but well below the $153,000 salary they command in Hong Kong, according to Hays.

IT directors earn up to $164,000 in Japan, compared with more than $182,000 in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. The gap in pay ranges from about 30% to about 60%.

Of the five Asian markets in the survey, Japan consistently outperformed only Malaysia in these three job categories. Japan ranked as the second worst out of 34 countries and territories in the ease of hiring highly skilled business people, according to a joint study by Hays and Oxford Economics.

Few companies have embraced the high pay needed to attract talent, although some, such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, are starting to break with tradition in hiring and compensation practices.

Wide pay gaps are also evident in manufacturing, long seen as a Japanese national strength. At automakers, research-and-development chiefs in mainland China can earn close to $545,000 a year. In Japan, their pay tops out closer to $318,000. The difference is linked to the growing demand for engineers to develop electric vehicles in China.

R&D chiefs in pharmaceuticals earn more in mainland China and Hong Kong than in Japan.

Wage increases tend to be smaller in Japan than in China, Hays found. Raises of less than 3% accounted for 48% of the total in Japan, with no raise at all in 21% of cases. By contrast, 42% of raises in China were in the range of 3% to 6%. Pay remained flat only 12% of the time.

The scramble for IT talent is not bound by national borders. According to staffing company Robert Walters Japan, job offers outnumbered candidates for midcareer hires in artificial intelligence-related positions by 6 to 10 times. More non-Japanese candidates are being hired in Japan for such positions, as well as holders of advanced degrees who have no business experience.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends April 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media