Media March 2011

Haken Hiring and New Salary Survey

As Robert Walters published its 12th annual Global Salary Survey, the firm’s haken expert spoke to the media in February on developments and misconceptions in Japan’s contract employment system. “Robert Walters specialises in recruiting mid- to senior-level management professionals, for roles that often require specialised skills based on their particular job function and industry. Many that enter contracting may do so as a stepping stone into a permanent position for which they may not currently have the prerequisite experience or skill set”, said Contract Division Director Naeem Iqbal. “There has been a significant increase in demand for contractors to finish projects on time and contractor use is expected to increase in the future”.

Other advantages of contracts? “A much better work-life balance, as you may only work six months a year while the remainder will be your personal time. Pay in some sectors such as IT can also be significantly more than permanent positions because of added benefits such as overtime”.

“Contractor use has increased because of the flexibilty to employers cautious with budgets but who must add headcount,” he said. “Contractors were also used because of the chance to ‘try before you buy’ for potentially permanent employees. What we have found is that about 20-30% of contractors are often offered permanent positions once their contracts expire”.

The latest survey offers insight into the main employment trends of last year, expected salaries for 2011, and roles most in demand. The rise in Chinese tourists in Japan, for example, prompted a strong increase in hiring bilingual staff in the luxury-goods sector.

Other highlights:

  • Investment banks and securities firms hired aggressively
  • Demand increased for front, middle and back-office functions
  • SMEs able to hire high-calibre HR professionals at lower salaries
  • Hiring by large firms in 2011 should push salaries upward
  • Accounting and audit pay up, but average bonuses down
  • Strong demand for in-house credit-risk lawyers


  • Healthcare firms recruited heavily following regulation reform
  • Autos and heavy industry significantly increased hiring
  • High yen reduced exports, so less demand for logistics