Global IT talent war sends Japan tech salaries soaring
Nikkei -- Dec 12
As the global shortage of skilled information technology experts hits Japan hard, companies are scrambling to lure and keep top talent with hefty annual pay packages.

IT company NTT Data announced on Dec. 4 a new performance-based pay system aimed at attracting high flyers in the fields of artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

Keiichiro Yanagi, NTT Data's senior executive vice president, indicated that annual salaries will likely range between 20 million and 30 million yen ($177,300 and $266,000), putting them on par with those of its top executives and similarly qualified employees at overseas companies.

There will be no upper limit on the performance-linked component of the pay package, so annual salaries could conceivably exceed 30 million yen. The company's average salary is about 8.2 million yen.

Japanese chat app provider Line is also upping its offers to skilled young IT prospects, promising between 10 million and 20 million yen annually. E-commerce platform Zozo announced a plan in April to pay its tech wizards up to an eye-watering 100 million yen a year.

Sectors other than technology are also in the hunt for talent. Fast Retailing, operator of casualwear retailer Uniqlo, is hiring more IT staff to upgrade its logistics and demand-forecast systems, even looking to Silicon Valley and other overseas locations to find engineers. A recent posting on a jobs website by the company advertised salaries of up to 20 million yen for IT staff, far above those extended to job seekers in its other departments.

Fast Retailing, operator of Uniqlo, whose office is shown above, is offering annual salaries of up to 20 million yen for IT staff.

By 2020, Japan will face a shortage of about 48,000 engineers in areas like artificial intelligence and internet of things, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The shortage is so acute that in 2016, Toyota Motor set up an AI-focused subsidiary in the U.S. James Kuffner, former head of Google's robotics division, was among a number of renowned researchers who joined the company, which now employs about 300 people.

News source: Nikkei
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