The decreasing Japanese population is creating countless employment opportunities for the international workforce and Japan is presently experiencing a large and rapid influx of foreign workers into its job market. Most of these opportunities are generally in non-skilled labor positions in convenience stores, restaurants, construction sites, fisheries, etc. and it doesn’t look like this trend will end soon. On the contrary, it will only grow even more severe.
This doesn’t mean there wouldn’t also be an ever-growing need to fill skilled labor positions, especially in the technology sector. One of the problems, however is, that most Japanese companies, both SMEs and Multinationals, do not have the experience, skills, and/or the internal policies, procedures, and practices to manage foreign workers. Other issues are the need to adjust to other cultures and working styles, language and the ability to communicate with foreign workers in Japanese. Because of these issues, foreign workers need to have a fairly high level of spoken Japanese and in most cases reading and writing abilities are required as well. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to recruit enough foreign workers with the skill sets the company desires.
Due to the above issues, Japanese companies need to become more proficient in English and adapt their operations in order to access, service, and support the abundant number of skilled workers in the international workforce. Large, multinational companies have already started initiatives to increase and improve the overall level of English and communication abilities. These companies see the need and already recruit internationally. But SMEs also have to work towards the ability to hire skilled people from the international workforce, not just general laborers. The ability to speak, communicate, work, collaborate, understand, etc. in English is the main factor in harnessing the international workforce. Establishing a policy that requires English abilities throughout the organization will provide a greater ability to attract highly skilled job seekers from around the globe, who can bring the much needed change and new developments into a company to make it successful on the global market.