Finding a job in Japan can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak good (above JLPT N3) Japanese. There are, however, few popular jobs in Japan that require only fluency in English.
Before diving into talking about how to find a job in Japan that don’t require Japanese, a popular question many foreigners have is:
Do I need to be in Japan to find a job here?
In theory, no you don’t. For instance, there are many companies in Japan that will sponsor your Visa, and some that even provide you relocation packages! I personally know many people who applied for a job while outside of Japan and moved to Japan once receiving an offer. This is an ideal situation, as you already have a source of income and visa sponsorship which makes your relocation to Japan much more stress-free.
Many companies, however, prefer to interview somebody who is already in Japan. Getting to the first interview tends to be the most challenging part. For ways to improve your chances of getting invited to the first interview, read my article on “How to Get Invited to First Interview in Japan” .
Beyond the first interview, the second challenging part in securing a job in Japan would be convincing the company that you have a strong motivation. Often, candidates that were interviewed overseas and moved to Japan have challenges accommodating to lifestyle in Japan. Moreover, they also get cold feet when it comes time to actually relocate. As such, a good approach for securing a job would be to be ready to come to Japan for the final interview onsite. To learn more about getting past the final interview, you can read my article on “How to pass your interview and receive an offer” .
Now, let’s move onto the main topic and explore job opportunities in Japan for people that don’t speak Japanese:
1. Working as a Language Teacher
Working as a English or other language teacher tends to be the most popular job option for Non-Japanese speaking residents of Japan. That is because there are a lot of private and public schools, teaching from Infants to Adults, looking for fluent (ideally Native) speakers in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Korean in Japan. Among these options, English and Mandarin tend to be very popular language skills employers are looking for.
The benefits of working as a Language Teacher
- There tends to be less over-time compared to other types of employment;
- Employment opportunities are abundant and are one of the easiest jobs to land;
The downsides are that:
- Career progression tends to be limited;
- Salary is low;
Average salary for a language teacher in Japan is around 3,000,000 JPY to 4,000,000 JPY per year.
2. Working at Hotels and Resorts
With the upcoming Olympics in Japan and rise in inbound tourists, the hospitality industry is looking for ways to accommodate foreign tourists better. Therefore, many hotels and resorts are looking for staff to accommodate foreign tourists exclusively and fluency in Japanese is often not expected.
The benefits of working at Hotels and Resorts are:
- You get to enjoy the surrounding entertainment, such as Skiing in Nikko or Swimming in Okinawa;
- Unlike other jobs where over-time work in often discretionary, many Hotels and Resorts do provide over-time payment;
- Larger chains of Hospitality companies offer employee discounts and benefits
- Many Hotels and Resorts offer accommodation;
The downsides are:
- Limited Career progression;
- Relatively low salary;
- Many of the jobs are located in tourist areas, such as Nikko, Okinawa, Beppu, and not so much in major cities like Osaka or Tokyo;
Average Salary tends to be between 2,600,000 JPY to 4,500,000 JPY.
3. Working as a recruitment consultant
Recruitment consultant is a popular job option for Non-Japanese speaking residents of Japan.
The benefits are:
- You can make a lot of money, as it is a commission-based sales job;
- More and more recruitment agencies are starting to offer flexible working hours;
- There is a clear and abundant opportunities for career progression;
The downsides are:
- It is a competitive sales environment, where you are evaluated and paid largely based on your performance. If you don’t make placements, your base salary starts to decrease;
- Unless you have the energy and sales skills to be successful in the industry, you will not last long;
- There is often a lot of overwork and it is a highly stressful working environment
- If you don’t perform well, you have a high chance of getting fired;
Average salary for recruitment consultants varies like any sales job, but generally speaking
- Base salary tends to be between 3,000,000 JPY for consultants and 7,000,000 JPY for Managers, and as high as 12,000,000 for Directors in Major recruitment agencies
- Bonus tends to be between 10-40% (tending on the company) of your placement; Average consultants tend to make between 2,000,000 JPY to 5,000,000 JPY in annual bonus;
- Top billers in companies make between 7,000,000 JPY to 20,000,000 JPY in annual bonus.
4. Working as a Software Engineer
Finally, if you have a technical background, finding a job as a software engineer would be your best bet! Often, many IT and internet companies in Japan work in English and tend to offer number of strong benefits.
The benefits are:
- Salary tends to be higher than other positions in Japan;
- Career progression is abundant and diverse;
- Many companies offer cool perks, such as flex-time, in-house baristas, free meals, nap stations, and more;
The downsides are:
- Compared to the U.S or U.K, programmers are underpaid;
- Unless you get an offer from large known IT or Internet companies in Japan, you will have a lot of over-time and non of the cool benefits mentioned above;
- The interview process is difficult, with coding tests, few sets of technical interviews, and more;
Average salary for Japanese IT companies tends to be between 5,000,000 JPY to 9,000,000 JPY while international companies, such as Amazon, pay between 8,000,000 JPY to 15,000,000 JPY.