The graduate hiring process in Japan reaches a peak towards the end of the year, as the naitei (informal offers) from the big firms have mostly been issued, and the smaller firms and the unlucky graduates desperately try to find solace in each others’ arms. The process is meant to start in April, when students put on identical suits and attend countless company presentations and interviews, thereby pretty much wiping the final year out in terms of getting any studying done. Japan’s universities mostly function on the American credit system, so there is not the pressure of ‘finals’ as you get in British universities, however Japan’s academics regularly complain about the damage done to the educational experience by the system. There have been attempts to move the start date to August, so that students can do some studying in the first term, but unfortunately, with a shortage of skilled labour, it’s too tempting for most firms not to try to buck the system.
The Nikkei Business magazine ran a series in December to guide students through the process, explaining what financial services companies and trading companies are looking for and offering. I thought I would share it, as it gives a flavour of the corporate culture of these elite employers who are active outside Japan. I was interested to see how much better paid on average the trading companies’ recruits are than the financial services companies, and that a global mindset is mentioned regularly amongst the financial services, but not by the trading companies – presumably a global outlook is taken for granted.
In terms of overseas experience, the Nikkei says that some of the bigger banks send out several hundred people a year to overseas postings, and this is not just to support Japanese companies overseas, but increasingly to build business with local companies too. English ability is not compulsory, but likely to be offered as training after entry.
The image of trading company employees is that they have to be able to speak English, are strong drinkers and sporty. The trading companies themselves say English ability is not compulsory and there are even some naitei offers to people who don’t have a passport. However all trading companies point out that they usually expect one of the three rotations in the first 10 or so years to be overseas. The trading companies say it is not necessary to drink, but obviously it’s a bit awkward if your counterpart is a brewery. Sportiness is not actively sought, but it’s true that on campus recruitment by employees may well focus on students who were in the same club as them.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
Offers naitei to 1300 graduates, starting salary is Y205,000 (around £1200) a month. Average salary of all employees is Y7.91m (around £46K). They are looking for healthy curiousity, and eagerness to take up challenges
Mizuho Financial Group
Offers naitei to 1920 graduates. Starting salary the same as BTMU. Average salary of all employees is Y7.38m (around £43K). They are looking for intellectual curiousity, a global mindset and dynamism.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking
Offers naitei to 1800 graduates. Starting salary the same as BTMU and Mizuho. Average salary of all employees is Y8.79m (£51K). They are looking for people who are good at building relationships and have a global awareness.
Offers naitei to 600 graduates. Starting salary is Y232,300 a month (£1350). Average salary of all employees is Y11.93m (£69K). They are looking for people with ambition, honesty and flexibility.
Offers naitei to around 690 graduates. Starting salary is Y240,000 a month (£1395). Average salary of all employees is Y10.02m (£58K). They are also looking for honesty but also a strong spirit of enquiry
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa
Offers naitei to around 750 graduates. Starting salary is Y237,860 a month (£1383). Average salary of all employees is Y6.6m (£38K). SJNK is looking for “ability to stand on your own feet”
Offers naitei to around 142 graduates (out of 7000 applications). Starting salary is Y240,000 (£1395). Average salary of all employees is Y13.95m (£81K). They are looking for honesty and optimism
Offers naitei to around 160 graduates (out of 6000 applications). Starting salary is the same as the other trading companies. Average salary of all employees is Y13.75m (£80K). They are looking for trustworthiness, strength and intellectual ability.
Offer naitei to around 120-150 graduates (out of 6000 applications). Same starting salary as the other trading companies. Average salary of all employees is Y13.61m (£79K). They are looking for intellectual curiosity, ambition, ability to develop yourself
Offer naitei to around 130 graduates (out of 7000 applications). Same starting salary as the others. Average salary of all employees is Y13m (£76K). They are looking for ability to innovate, execute and collaborate
Offer naitei to around 122 graduates (out of 7700 applications). Same starting salary as the others. Average salary of all employees is Y13.06m (£76K). They are looking for people who stand up for themselves and don’t run away (!)
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