“I was born and raised in Luxembourg. It’s a tiny country in Europe, between Belgium, France, and Germany. But my mother’s Japanese so after graduating from university, I decided to move here and work. My first job was at a German car company. I worked in HR as an intern, interviewing other interns. Then I wound up in recruitment. I interview a lot of foreigners who want to come to Japan and it’s clear how challenging Japan can be if you’re not fluent in Japanese. A lot of companies are trying to be more international, hiring more foreigners or making employees speak more English. They want to be international but they’re still not 100% open. You still need to speak Japanese very well and it’s not an easy language. So the domestic job market ends up putting more premium on Japanese people who have lived or studied overseas, or someone with a Japanese background like me. Because it’s really hard to find foreign candidates who possess native-level Japanese. Worse, they want young professionals who are bilingual and loyal to their company. They’re basically looking for unicorn candidates who are so rare in this market that’s facing an aging population problem. This is one of my challenges as a recruiter. I have to educate our clients about the current situation in the labor market. They have to be more open in terms of age, language requirements, and skills (maybe they’ll have to teach skills).”

“Japan has a lot to offer, not only in terms of work, but also culture, history, events, unique experiences, etc. It’s important to be open, and try out new things–get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Japan has helped me grow professionally, as well as on a personal level. It has taught me to work hard for my career and place importance on taking a break from my busy life to spend time for myself or with people I care about.”

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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