Asking questions to non-Japanese IT engineers Vol. 3

digital report

We asked 100 Foreign IT Engineers about what they think foreigners need to succeed in a Japanese company. Understanding the local language and culture play a huge advantage in the workplace, but many other factors are also important. Find out here.

Japan is a great place to live according to many rankings. The economy is stable, the crime rate is low and there are plenty of technology-related jobs. But, do foreigners really want to live permanently in Japan? Find out here for how long IT foreign engineers would like to stay in Japan, also how many years they would like to work in their next company.

This article is volume 3 of the survey result about foreign IT engineer working in Japan. If you are interested in other volumes, please check out from following articles.

Asking questions to non-Japanese IT engineers Vol. 1
Asking questions to non-Japanese IT engineers Vol. 2

What do foreigners need to succeed in a Japanese Company?

Working in a Japanese company can be quite an adventure and it might be difficult to adjust to the many unspoken social norms. We asked 100 foreign IT engineers what do they think foreigners need in order to succeed in a Japanese company.
What you need to succeed in Japan

Business Level Japanese Proficiency

Many Japanese companies are looking for IT talent with a business level of Japanese ability. Even for IT engineers, due to the frequent communication with co-workers and clients, Japanese ability has become the rule in order to successfully communicate and not miss important details regarding a project, the language ability also allows to make decisions together and not being left out. Many companies also think that the higher the Japanese level is, the higher is the commitment to Japan.

Understanding of Japanese Corporate Culture

The Japanese language and the Japanese business culture is intertwined, by speaking the language makes it easier to understand some of the social norms and workplace rules. The work culture in Japan may come as a shock to those coming from abroad, but it is important to get to know the social rules to build meaningful business relationships. One of the most important values of Japanese culture is harmony, by prioritizing the needs of society rather than personal interest or opinion. Instead of making decisions based on individual authority, Japanese companies tend to emphasize group consensus in order to maintain peaceful cooperation within the organisation and harmony within the team.

Able to Report, Contact and Consult (Ho-Ren-So)

Horenso is a basic rule for business communication that is often employed by companies throughout Japan to ensure an efficient system of information sharing. The term is an acronym built of three words and stands for Hōkoku (報告) which means “report,” Renraku (連絡) which means “communicate,” and Sōdan (相談) which means “consult”.If you are planning to work at a Japanese company, then it is a good idea to remember this rule, as it will facilitate your job in a Japanese working environment.

For How Long You Want to Live in Japan?

Live in Japan
This graph shows the results of a survey in which foreign IT engineers shared their plans for the future. From the pie chart, it is clear that the majority of foreign IT engineers in Japan, 56.5%, would like to live in Japan forever. Many foreigners enjoy the safety and stability that the country provides. Following the 18.5% who would like to at least stay for more than 3 years. 8.3% more than 6 years, and the smaller groups, with 6.5% that would like to either, stay for more than 1 year or more than 10 years.

Japanese Level of IT Engineers

The better your Japanese skills, the more opportunities will be open to you. So, unless you have highly technical skills as an engineer you can be an exception to language requirements. According to GTalent’s database, this is the rate of Foreign IT engineers Japanese skill.
Japanese level IT Engineers
This graph shows the results of a survey in which foreign IT engineers stated their current Japanese level. From the chart, the majority of foreign IT engineers in Japan, 42.6%, are skilled in business level Japanese. The next bigger group, 35.2% with a conversational level ability in Japanese. 10.2% are fluent in Japanese, 6.5% have no Japanese ability and only 5.6% have basic knowledge of Japanese. For many employers, basic ability of Japanese is the same as almost none, since most of them are still not able to maintain a conversation.

For How Long Would You Like to Work in Your Next Company?

Work next company in Japan
The chart is divided into 6 parts. 54.2% of foreign IT engineers stated that they would like to stay forever in their next company. The group who would like to work for more than 3 years has the second largest number with 25%. Following is the group who would like to work for more than one year with 9.4% of the foreign IT engineers. The next three smaller groups are as follows, 5.2% more than ten years, 4.2% more than six years, and 2.1% less than a year.


In conclusion, the results of this survey have shown that many foreign IT engineers find Japan attractive. Contrary to what many Japanese companies think, foreigners living in Japan are actually looking to stay most of their lives not only in Japan but even in their next company. As for the Japanese level, we would like to invite you to improve your Japanese skill if you are already thinking about staying in Japan forever. This will help you to thrive in your career in Japan as well as to understand Japanese business culture and have better business relations with your co-workers and clients.

If you are a foreign IT engineer and you are thinking about changing jobs in Japan, please register to G Talent. G Talent is a recruitment agency specialized in foreign IT engineers, we work with start-ups and large companies that are eager to hire skilled foreign IT talent.