Low IT pay stifles Japan's digital transformation

Nikkei -- Jun 12
TOKYO -- Japanese companies face a serious shortage of skilled tech professionals as rigid seniority systems prevent them offering the kind of pay and packages likely to lure younger IT engineers and other experts.

Data from a major Japanese staffing agency shows that the so-called jobs-to-applicants ratio for IT professionals reached 10 late last year, higher than any other role and underscoring the size of the tech recruiting challenge confronting the country.

Unlike the U.S. and Europe, where firms often spend big to tempt talent, many companies in Japan still set wages based heavily on criteria such as how long employees have been with the firm.

This lack of fresh tech blood is dragging on widely-touted government plans for the "digital transformation" of society, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic highlighting how many of the nation's industries still rely on outdated technology or even pen and paper.

"The war for talent is heating up," said Atsuko Hirose, head of human resources at software developer Fujisoft. The Yokohama-based company aims to hire about 430 midcareer IT experts in the 2022 fiscal year -- roughly the same as the number of science and technology college graduates it expects to recruit next spring. But that won't be easy given the shallow pool of job seekers in the tech sector.

The monthly jobs-to-applicants ratio among IT professionals ranged from 3 to 5 in 2019 before topping 10 for the first time in December 2021, according to the Doda recruitment site run by major employment agency Persol Career. The ratio remained high at 9.5 in March, compared to 2.8 for marketing jobs and 0.4 for sales positions. ...continue reading

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