The vast majority of Japanese companies in Europe are expecting to either expand their business in Europe or maintain the status quo in the coming year, according to the JETRO survey commented on previously, and this is reflected in their staffing plans. 50% or so maintained current staffing levels last year and intend to maintain similar levels this year, but there is a definite distinction between last year and this year in those who have changed their staffing levels.
Last year, unsurprising given the euro crisis, there was a more negative sentiment, and this year Japanese companies look to be more proactive in hiring rather than firing. 26% increased their staffing levels last year and 20.5% cut them, but for the coming year, nearly 30% plan to increase the number of employees, and only 11.9% plan to cut back.
Similarly, around 75% of respondents expect the number of Japanese expatriate staff to remain static, but there is a slight tendency towards reducing their numbers rather than increasing them in the coming year. We’ve certainly seen an increase in the number of senior Europeans taking over from Japanese expatriate managers amongst our clients, and if the intention is to expand sales in Europe, then we would expect to see more local sales and marketing executives being taken on too.
Indeed, 44.6% of those Japanese companies forecasting an increase in sales for the coming year (53% of those in the non-manufacturing sector) expect this to be due to their plans to strengthen their sales organisation in Europe, rather than just a passive reaction to increasing demand or price increases.
The sectors that were predicting an improvement in profits were food processing, banking, logistics, securities and medical equipment. The more pessimistic sectors were plastics, metal products, automotive parts, ceramics and minerals and transportation/warehousing. So if you’re in sales and marketing in foods, finance, logistics or medical equipment, there’s probably a Japanese company out there looking to hire you!
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