We have only seen a couple of foreign companies successfully break into the domestic monolingual recruitment market in Japan and most of those successes were limited to the temp markets.

    Why is this and what are some of the common miscalculations.

    1. Trying to grow a new domestic division “organically” alongside and within existing bilingual market recruiting operations.
    2. Not considering an M&A strategy.
    3. Underestimating the size, distribution, history, breadth, and depth of customer relationships of the big and medium size domestic players.
    4. Investment levels.
    5. Misunderstanding the marketing, brand, advertising spend and ambitious strategies that are needed to make significant market inroads.
    6. Choosing or hiring the wrong leaders to plan and execute the strategy and not targeting successful and experienced domestic market experienced senior leaders.
    7. Believing that the sales, delivery, operations, and execution methods are the same as typical western recruitment models.
    8. Existing staff are not capable or motivated to deliver into the domestic market.
    9. Not adjusting internal compensation schemes and operational models correctly for the new markets
    10. Underestimating the time and continued investment required to make significant progress and giving up early on the long game.
    11. Failure to grasp the internal and external cultural approaches required.
    12. Not enough consideration of the power of job boards, who owns those job boards and their influence over the domestic recruitment markets

    I have seen Japanese companies gobbling up through M&A activity foreign owned bilingual agencies as they look to move in and eventually take over those markets, but I don’t see it the other way. Why is that when the prize is so big!

    There are lots of mid and small sized Japanese companies that if acquired could give foreign agencies a strong foothold into the Japan market from which to expand and grow from.  Right now though, I don’t see that happening.

    Yes, it’s a massive and complicated puzzle and yes, its intimidating.  But it’s also exciting, a massive market and full of potential!