The rise of the digital economy—together with rapid technological advancements—has created dynamic challenges for employers and job candidates. Areas such as fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and internet services, streaming entertainment and e-commerce are changing what is considered the ideal hire and redefining the needed skill set. RGF Professional Recruitment Japan (RGF PR), a bilingual recruitment arm of Recruit Group, is evolving to meet those needs.
Recruit Group is the largest recruiting and information service firm in Japan and Asia, and the fourth largest in the world. This puts RGF PR in prime position to help Japan-based firms transform their workforce and thrive in a tech-rich future. To find out how they are helping businesses, ACUMEN spoke with Simon Elsom, RGF PR’s director of financial services, human resources (HR), office administration, finance and accounting, and legal.
The digitalisation of our world brings challenges across the full spectrum of HR, Elsom said. “Japan continues to be a candidate-short market, especially where bilingual or multilingual skills are required. The development and launch of new tech products and services require the recruitment of employees with new, niche programming skills. This makes attracting and securing the best talent extremely competitive,” he added. “In response to growing demand in these areas, we now have function-specialised, dedicated teams focusing on digital front end, back end, robotics, AI and data”.
But it isn’t just programmers that are needed. “We are seeing particularly high demand for strong researchers, those with coding and development skills, and engineers in mobile, AI and blockchain,” Elsom said. “With our clients in the retail sector, there has been a significant increase in e-commerce operations—an area especially short of experienced candidates with relevant expertise”.
While finding the right people for hands-on development is important, equally so is tech literacy at the highest levels of management. “Even those in non-technical roles, such as chief financial officers and chief human resources officers, are increasingly required to be tech friendly to ensure continued competitiveness and steadfast growth,” said Elsom.
RGF PR’s extensive reach puts firms in touch with a rich pool of talented and insightful leaders who can transform existing workflows and approaches, bringing them in line with the needs of the digital economy.
Beyond how we sell and purchase, technology has changed how we work. From a talent and hiring perspective, it has turned a pond into an ocean, exponentially increasing the number of candidates.
“The ability for jobs to be advertised around the globe at the touch of a button, the convenience of online applications and the accessibility of candidate assessment via video conferencing apps are bringing more flexibility to the hiring landscape,” Elsom explained. “Through the vast infrastructure of RGF and the Recruit Group—including our global offices and regional websites—we have access to the largest candidate pool in the market”.
This distance also plays into another important focus in today’s business world: work–life balance. RGF PR supports this by working with clients who offer flexible arrangements, be it permanent, temporary or contract.
Of course, working from afar is increasingly an option, and is a great way for firms to boost their capabilities while benefiting from a happier workforce.
“In contrast to traditionally being located in the same physical office space, the increase in the number of remote working practices is quite evident. Being geographically located around the globe, this requires an increased need for various language abilities as well as more flexible working hours due to regional time differences,” Elsom said.
“Within tech specific roles, many people prefer to be contractors—working on fixed-term projects and then taking several months off before their next challenge. Covering both permanent and temporary recruitment services, RGF PR is uniquely positioned to advise on the benefits of each approach, and to offer fuller, more flexible recruitment solutions according to the individual needs of our clients”.
And, away from the recruitment process itself, candidates are often attracted to flexible working arrangements and other non-standard benefits or financial rewards.
Elsom also said that RGF PR is seeing greater global talent mobility, with an increase in the number of employees recruited from overseas. This is particularly true in the tech space, which includes Japanese nationals who have experience overseas but wish to return to Japan as well as non-Japanese who wish to broaden their professional experience in Japan. “Through the Recruit Group’s vast regional infrastructure for Japanese-speaking candidates—which includes more than 50 offices in the Asia–Pacific region and various recruitment portals—RGF PR can help our clients access this Japanese-speaking talent pool”.
And that is where working with a trusted third-party such as RGF PR can make all the difference between success and failure. Japan may be a candidate-short market, but the talent is out there. The challenge is finding it. With RGF PR at your side, that challenge might not be as daunting as it first seems.