Discovering the world of Japanese contingent workers

January 8, 2013

2013 could also be the Year Japan’s Economy Turns Around. If you have not paid much attention to Japan since the Earthquake disaster in March 2011, I would recommend you add it to your list of countries to watch.

The new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated on Monday his call for bold monetary easing by the central bank, big fiscal spending and an economic growth strategy as steps conquering deflation, reports Reuters.


Japan has a population of 127 million and a GDP per capita of 42,280 USD. It is the fourth largest market in the world.

Japan is also one of the largest temporary markets in the world. It represents 19% of the global agency work market with over 20,000 private employment agencies and over 82,602 branches and 185,000 employees according to CIETT. However agency work penetration is 1.5% so there is growth opportunities.

While doing business in Japan is more complicated than many other countries from both a statutory and cultural perspective, it is not impossible.

We at Beeline have been working closely with our clients, partners, and sister companies in Japan to make sure that our team and Contingent Staffing solutions are ready to support you as we work with you in Japan.

Our VMS has been localized into Japanese and we continue to localize our configuration of the application for the Japanese market to meet our client’s needs.

A couple of things to consider:

  • Haken (派遣)
    • Is the Japanese term for temporary employees dispatched to companies by staffing agencies.
    • There are two types of Haken which follow different statutory laws
    • The client cannot conduct a job interview with the candidate before/he she is employed by the client.
    • The VMS cannot share information that could potentially identify the possible temporary staff.
    • Hard-sell techniques will fail in Japan. Instead, find the points on which you and your Japanese counterparts agree, and then build upon those. A positive, persuasive presentation works better.
    • The bow is a traditional greeting. If someone bows to greet you, observe carefully. If you are greeting an equal, bow to the same depth as you have been bowed to, because the depth of the bow indicates the status of the relationship between you.

2013 is going to be an exciting year and I look forward to enjoying more time with our Japanese colleagues.