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Business

Wanted: Experienced professionals willing to work for $90K salary

Forget all the training, Japan Inc. decides it wants experienced workers

This is what job hunting in Japan looked like on Dec. 7, 2013. Today, though, more companies are hiring mid-career professionals, luring them with big pay packages.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The number of jobs that pay at least 10 million yen ($89,100) a year is on the rise in Japan as companies try to lure skilled and talented professionals.

Japanese travel agency JTB recently posted a notice on the BizReach website that said it was looking for a financial officer for overseas operations. Annual pay would be between 8 million yen and 14 million yen.

"We want to recruit top talent in Japan via midcareer hires," a JTB human resources representative said.

These 10-million-yen-a-year offers are coming as more middle-aged workers switch jobs. According to data compiled by the Japan Executive Search and Recruitment Association, workers aged 36 and older who changed jobs via Japan's three major staffing agencies jumped 14% last fiscal year. That was a 75% increase from fiscal 2007, before the global financial crisis.

The number of those who are taking new jobs offered by websites or headhunters is also on the rise.

Japanese companies have long tried to recruit employees who are 35 or younger, thinking they could then spend time nurturing the new hires in the ways of each's corporate culture. But now employers are realizing that if they offer more pay to more experienced workers, they won't have to do so much training.

Smaller businesses and companies outside major metropolitan areas are trying to fill vacancies by paying more, too. AP Communications, a small systems developer based in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, recently dangled annual pay packages of between 8 million yen and 15 million yen as it hunted for managers.

"We had to hire employees with experience at big companies to cope with a growing number of orders," a company representative said.

According to employment agency JAC Recruitment, the number of 10-million-yen-a-year jobs being offered by companies outside Greater Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya have been up 70% over the past three years. The Tokyo-based company added that as big manufacturers globalize, their suppliers are having to hire experienced personnel who can handle international operations.

Foreign companies are also in the game, trying to lure Japanese engineers with the promise of lucrative salaries. Staffing agency en-japan's Middle no Tenshoku, an online recruitment website for professionals in their 30s and 40s, this year is running 40% more postings for jobs with annual incomes of at least 10 million yen.

At en world, a job search site run by en-japan, some 70% of the English-speaking chip engineer positions that are open offer annual incomes of 10 million yen or more.

With engineer salaries rising globally, especially in the U.S. and China's coastal areas, foreign companies are offering big pay packages to attract Japan's relatively underpaid engineers, an en-japan representative said.

In April and May, India's Apollo Tyres was offering up to 50 million yen a year for a Japanese who could lead its research and development division in India or the Netherlands.

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