This site is a government-approved information site for studying in Japan operated by the Japan Student Services Organization in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. and More

Text Size
CONTACT PDF for print

Chapter1.Job situation in Japan

Job situation in Japan

1. Job market for recent graduates

The job market thatrecent graduates of universities and colleges enter when they first start working is called the "new graduates market" in Japan.

Figureindicates the employment rate of those recent graduates during the last 10 years.

Employment in Japan has consistently been over 90% during the period, indicating the steady job situation in Japan. During the 2019-2020 academic year, the rate reached 97.8%, which means nearly all the students were able to get a job upon graduation.

Figure 1】 The average employment rate of Japanese university and college graduates in the past 10 years


Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare "Survey of Employment on University and Colleges Graduates," 2018

2. First salary

First salary or "Shoninkyu 初任給" means the first monthly salary recent graduates from university or graduate schools receive from their employer. Figure 2 shows the average amounts in Japan. They range from approximately 200,000 Japanese yen for university graduates and nearly 230,000 yen for those who graduated from graduate school. Those of humanities courses or "Jimukei 事務系" are two figures from the left, science courses or "Gijutsukei 技術系" are two figures from the right.

Figure 2】 The average amount of the first monthly salary in each academic qualification


National Personnel Authority (NPA) The survey result of salary in each job (2019)

3. Average salary by age

Figure 3 shows average annual salary by age. Each bar indicates the average annual salary by age groups and sex respectively. The annual salary for males reaches the peak of 6,860,000 yen at age 55-59, then gradually declines. That of females levels off after the 25-29 age group. This is because of the general trend that more women choose to work part-time rather than full-time after marriage and pregnancy.

Figure 3The average salary of private companies in each age range


National Tax Agency (NTA) The survey result of salary in each job , 2018

Job situation for foreign students

1. Foreign student employment

As of May 1st 2018, the number of foreign students in Japan reached about 300,000 - more than double the number 10 years ago.

In the past 10 years, the number of foreign students employed in Japan increased from 9,584 in 2009 to 25,942 in 2018. However, generally speaking, getting job in Japan is not easy as employment rate of foreign students is not as high as that of Japanese.

Figure 4Number of foreign student graduates and employment

Ministry of Justice, Immigration Bureau "The Employment of Foreign Students in Japanese Companies 2018

2. Employment situation for foreign students

Figure 5 shows the breakdown of companies and organizations by whom foreign students were employed. 13.9% of them were employed by organizations with more than 2,000 employees. Most students' initial jobs after graduation were at companies with fewer than 50 employees.

In Japan, middle-size or small companies do not only function as subcontractors under large-scale companies. There are many successful smaller companies which hold the world's highest-ranking technologies or the number 1 market share in a certain market. When researching potential companies to work for, you can find a wider range of choices not only by the scale of the companies but by researching what the companies are actually doing, as well. Furthermore, the first paycheck at big companies and smaller size companies are both about 200,000 yen, only differing slightly.

Figure 5The size of the employee in companies

Ministry of Justice, Immigration Bureau "TheEmployment of Foreign Students in Japanese Companies 2018

3. Breakdown by industry

Figure 6 is a breakdown of the above-mentioned companies by industry. Just under 20% of foreign students started their careerwith manufacturing companies, while over 80% decided to work for non-manufacturing companies.

The trading industry tops the list, closely followed by computer-related services, with the food industry coming in third and education fourth.

Figure 6Industry in companies


Ministry of Justice, Immigration Bureau "The Employment of Foreign Students in Japanese Companies 2018

Next "Chapter2.Job hunting in Japan"

(Supervised by Manabu Kubota,

Visiting Researcher of JASSO)