Do digital talents from India choose Japan? | Low wages coupled with high language and cultural barriers | Courier Japon


Photo: Noriko Hayashi/The New York Times

Text by Joseph Coleman

India’s digital talent is in the spotlight amid a severe shortage of IT engineers. However, how does Japan compare with Europe and the United States, which have high salaries? The New York Times reported on the Japanese wall waiting for Indian immigrants.

High language and cultural barriers

Pranik Jogendra, 45, embodies the immigrant success story in many ways.

Yogendra was one of the first batch of Indian IT workers who immigrated to Japan in the early 2000s. He is naturalized in Japan and will hold an elected office in Tokyo in 2019 (Member of Edogawa Ward Assembly). This is the first time an Indian has done this. In 2022, he became vice principal of the public schools (and will become principal in spring 2023).


Pranik Jogendra teaches Indian culture to Japanese students. Photo: Noriko Hayashi/The New York Times

Now, Japanese companies are scrambling to attract highly educated Indians like Yogendra to make up for a critical shortage of IT engineers. But Jogendra is less sanguine about the challenges ahead for Japan and the immigrants attracted to it.

Recruiters see competition with the U.S. and Europe as an important litmus test for Japan’s capabilities as demand for active human resources around the world continues to rise. However, low wages and high language and cultural barriers hinder Japan’s appeal to many. Rigid company structures can irritate new employees who have just arrived in Japan.

Plus, Japan, a country that has long been ambivalent about foreigners at home, has failed to create a system for foreigners to assimilate into Japanese-style life.

“Foreigners are coming, but there is no communication between Japanese and foreigners,” said Yogendra, who lives in an Indian neighborhood in east Tokyo. “There’s no inclusivity here.”

With a rapidly aging population, Japan desperately needs more labor to revitalize the world’s third-largest economy and fill the labor vacuum left in sectors ranging from agriculture and industry to elderly care and nursing care.

The country has accepted that reality and eased already strict immigration restrictions in a bid to attract hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. Most notable was the groundbreaking extension to the rules for granting work visas approved in 2018.

Technology is probably what international talent needs most. The Japanese government estimates that there will be a shortage of about 800,000 workers in the next few years to advance the long-term focus of digital business.

The shift of work, education and many other areas of daily life to online platforms in the wake of the pandemic has highlighted technological shortcomings in a country once considered a leader in the tech industry. .

Japanese companies, especially SMEs, are struggling to transition from paper documents to digital tools. According to government reports and analysis of private research, Japanese businesses lag behind the United States by nearly 10 years in their use of cloud technology.

India produces 15 million engineering graduates a year who can help Japan catch up with its digital lag. Among the Indian workers who responded to Japan’s call, many praised the cleanliness and safety of Japanese cities and said their salaries were adequate, if not luxurious, for a comfortable life. In some cases, people who have studied Japanese language and culture will praise Japan enthusiastically.

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Translated by Yoshioka Moto

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