The midcareer job market in Japan is changing fast, with an increasing number of workers trading secure jobs at large companies for new opportunities at startups.
Ambi, a job placement website run by En Japan, shows that the number of workers moving to startups from well-established businesses rose more than sevenfold in three years since the first half of fiscal 2018, far surpassing the overall job-hopping increase of 3.8 times. These midcareer changes accounted for 21.4% of all job switches made through the Ambi website, up about 13 points from three years earlier. The trend is particularly strong among workers aged 40 and older — the loyal backbone of corporate Japan — and could serve as a catalyst for Japan’s economic revival, said one expert.
“Now I can try new things while making use of my experience,” said Minako Uryu, who last year found a job at Housmart, a developer of marketing support systems for the property sector. “Furthermore, my income went up about 10%.” At the new company, the over-40-year-old Uryu develops chat-based customer service programs using her previous experience at an IT systems company.
Many startups also offer better salaries and other benefits to lure new talent. More than 20% of help-wanted ads from startups show annual salaries of over 10 million yen ($87,070) compared with about 10% of ads from listed companies. While well-established companies are bound by existing compensation structures, startups have no such restrictions.