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Japan – Overseas experience best bet for advancement

29 August 2013

Professionals in Japan believe that experience in North America and Europe offers the strongest progression opportunities for their careers, according to Robert Walters’ Employee Insights Survey 2013. The Survey compiled the insight of over 580 professionals in Japan. Respondents also indicate that developing business responsibilities abroad and career progression are the main motivators for working professionally for a period overseas.

In Japan’s rapidly globalising business environment, most workers favoured working overseas in established markets. Of those surveyed, 62% feel that work experience in North America offers a strong platform for career progression, followed by Europe at 45%. Surprisingly, Asia and South East Asia were not selected highly by those polled, with 30% and 17% respectively. This result indicates that despite considerable focus on the growing Asian economies, many Japanese professionals still prefer conventional markets to develop their professional experience.

Lanis Yarzab, Robert Walters’ director for commerce and industry for Japan, commented: "Though business in Asia is expanding rapidly, experience in traditional markets is still very valuable when professionals repatriate back to Japan. However, regardless of the location for the worker’s experience abroad, employers will need staff with the ability to manage regional partners, adapt to different managerial styles and support with implementing global business practices."

Respondents of the Survey also indicate that the main motivators for moving abroad are to develop business responsibilities outside Japan (64%) and to live in a foreign culture (39%). In contrast, only 17% professionals were motivated by remuneration.

Yarzab added: "Living in another culture can be exciting and rewarding for your career. But many staff return home early because their family members are unable to properly settle or the local salary is not enough to support working away from home. Professionals that consider these factors can ensure a successful assignment to secure global experience."

Respondents were asked; which regions do you believe offer the best career progression opportunities?
-- North America (61.6%)
-- Europe (45.3%)
-- Asia (29.8%)
-- South East Asia (17.0%)
-- Oceania (8.8%)
-- South America (3.1%)
-- Middle East and Africa (3.1%)

What were your motivations for working professionally overseas?
-- Career progression (30.1%)
-- Remuneration (16.9%)
-- Develop global business responsibilities (64.0%)
-- To live in another culture/country (38.6%)
-- Other (6.9%)

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