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Japanese & Foreign Companies Training System

Japanese & Foreign Companies Training System

For new graduates who will be entering the workforce for the first time in April, March there will be a period of mixed anticipation and anxiety, as life will be completely different from their previous school days. There may be many restrictions and unfinished business due to the pandemic. However, I would like to encourage new employees to go forward with hope, believing that there is a good future ahead.

In this article, I would like to talk about the differences in training between Japanese and foreign companies. Japanese companies, which hire a lot of new graduates, provide a great deal of training every year. The content of the training differs from company to company, but the training generally lasts about three to six months. Since new graduates do not have any working experience, it will be very important for them to understand basic business manners and the company’s management philosophy. This is an opportunity for new graduates to learn the basics of working life and to communicate with a variety of employees from different departments.

・Understand the company’s philosophy and business activities (learn about the business activities and the direction the company is aiming for, understand your role, and increase your motivation for work).

・Knowledge of business person (Understand how to communicate with superiors and seniors, and the importance of reporting, communication, and consultation so that you can carry out your duties smoothly.)

・Basic business manners (how to hand out business cards, how to respond to phone calls, how to make a sales list, how to promote business negotiations, etc.)

・Compliance for the particular industry

・Technical training for your chosen area

Companies also provide many opportunities for group work and role-playing so that new graduates can communicate with each other frequently. Since it is difficult to conduct all the training face-to-face  in COVID-19, I believe it will be conducted through a combination of online and face to face sessions in most cases. After the basic training, you will move on to OJT (On the Job Training), where you will learn by actually doing the job. This is an opportunity for you to acquire skills while working together with your seniors in the same department. Even if they don’t become immediately effective, many companies put a lot of effort into educating new graduates in order to invest in the future and develop candidates for executive positions.

In contrast, foreign companies often don’t provide such an extensive training plan compared to Japanese companies, nor do they have a culture of nurturing people for the very long term future. The difference is that they generally prioritise looking for people with immediate experience, which is why it’s very common for graduates in Europe and America to do a professional placement year as part of their degree, giving them an initial first years business experience. This gives new graduate candidates a massive leg app in the application process as companies feel they don’t need to start on the absolute basics. When hiring, they look to see if you can join the team immediately and work as an immediate asset. We also sometimes hire young people as potential employees. There are some training programs such as basic training on how to do your job and how to use the company’s portal site, but you should not expect the kind of training that Japanese companies provide for new graduates as a general rule and companies would look for candidates to be more proactive in their learning style.

My own experience is that I joined a foreign company as a career changer, and immediately after joining the company, I had a target number, and although some of my seniors were kind to me, most of them treated me as a competitor. One thing that left a deep impression on me was when a senior member of my team had an argument with a colleague over the phone and ended up throwing the receiver. At the time, I was very surprised to see such a scene just a few weeks after joining the company. In addition, I was not that good at English at that time, so I lost a lot of confidence and spent every day stressing out, wondering what the hell I wanted to do. Now I can say that it was a good experience, but at the time it was very difficult. In order to work in a foreign company in Japan, you need to have “guts” and be mentally strong to achieve results and get promoted. If you are good at English, can speak up clearly, and are confident that you can leave results behind, I think foreign-affiliated companies are the right place for you because they are results-oriented and raise salaries quickly!

In the U.K., they don’t have so many new graduates programs as Japan, so how do students go about their job hunting? In many cases, they do internships while they are still at university to gain work experience. It seems that there are very few companies that hire new graduates after graduating from university like in Japan, so even though COVID-19 is tough, there are many companies that hire new graduates in Japan, so Japanese students are probably blessed. Many of the internships are free of charge, so some students work as interns on weekdays and work part-time on weekends to make a living. Some students are even willing to take a leave of absence from school to get some work experience as an intern. Japanese university students have an image of having time to play, but British university students seem to be very busy with internships and part-time jobs.

Many Japanese companies are looking for new graduates as a long-term investment in their future, while many companies are looking for who are changing jobs to be able to work immediately. However, remember that foreign-affiliated companies are less likely to hire new graduates and are looking for immediate results even for new hires. There are differences like this, so try to think about which type of company is right for you as you go about your job search.

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