In light of the traditional Japanese working culture characterized by the seniority system or lifelong employment, changing jobs seems to come with risks. However, nowadays in Japan, there are more employees including bilingual talents changing or interested to change jobs. Since this has been a social trend coupled with globalization, businesses have no choice but to be more accepting of this change. In this article, I would like to introduce the part of the reality of job changes in Japan as well as how the companies should respond to the trend. 

*This article was posted in August, 2020.

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The recent trend of job change in Japan

According to the survey done by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2018, the average job turnover rate in Japan is 14.6%. This means that roughly 1 out of 7 employees in Japan quits or changes job.   Most of these employees in their 20s and just graduated. It is mentioned that most of them resign from the company within 3 years of working. Additionally, on average young employees in Japan change jobs two times in 40 years. Surprisingly, on average young employees in America change jobs two times more than Japanese.  Therefore, although the employees in Japan are still committed to work for their companies in the long-run. It is of no surprise that the trend of changing jobs has increased over the years.

Employee’s views of changing jobs in Japan?

It is still true that many of the workers want to avoid job changing as much as possible since it could deprive them of stability for income or chance of promotion. However, if they can find more satisfactory working opportunities by using their present acquired skills or experiences, they will be more acceptive to job changing.  According to the survey done by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2019,  the jobs-to-applicants ratio was almost 1.55, which means that there are 1.55 job openings for one applicant (due to the effect of COVID-19, the ratio by the April of this year was 1.32). Thus, this means that during covid there were lesser job openings or there might be more applicants applying for jobs.

The survey by BIZREACH shows that 76% of respondents in their 20s said that they have definite reasons to consider job changing even though they have neither changed the jobs nor applied for new jobs. With regards to the reason why they consider changing jobs, there are various factors which resulted in them changing jobs such as salary, culture, environment as well as skills development. However, 30.6% of the respondents said that they want to do more rewarding jobs. This shows that most of the employees prefer to work for a job that is fulfilling and meets their expectations. Besides, when they are asked which one they would put more premium, “high salary” or “the job they want to do”, nearly 60% of them chose “the job they want to do”. From the data mentioned, young employees in Japan prefers to work in a job in which they enjoy instead of monetary factors.

How should the companies in Japan respond to this trend?

Although the companies in Japan have become more accepting of job changing, however not all companies in Japan are acceptive towards this trend. However, if the companies don’t react to this change, the talents will choose to progress to another company which will not be beneficial to them. As a result, they have to spend additional capital to hire new talents. Thus, the companies should improve the working conditions as well as the environment to appeal to these talents.

According to the Labor Reform Law put in place in 2019, companies can ensure that they provide reasonable working hours and overtime payment. This ensures that the employee is satisfied and is given reasonable benefit. Hence, this will reduce the likelihood of employees changing jobs frequently.

In Japan, power or sexual harassment has been the most serious issue in the workplace. This issue can lead to low productivity as the employees cannot devote their efforts to working and thus resigned. To prevent such issues from happening, as of June 2020, power harassment must be strictly prohibited for big companies as well as SMEs. This law ensures that employees are well protected and respected in the workforce.

Furthermore, the companies must have a fair and open personnel assessment system so that the workers are duly evaluated for their performances. This will provide the employees with more motivation to contribute to the companies.


As mentioned above, some of the workers who consider changing jobs are generally not satisfied with the companies they are working for due to the lack of benefits given to them. While some employees are looking for job opportunities to develop their careers, others are looking for jobs that meet their expectations.

Most companies are so caught up on retaining current good talents and they tend to neglect the working environment and providing reasonable benefits for the employees. Companies should be more aware and acceptive towards the trend of job changing in Japan.

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