Commonly, the salaries in Japan range from 130,000 JPY to 2,300,000 JPY per month. This wide distribution in salaries exists due to vastly different salary prospects in different careers.
Average Salary in Japan 2021:
|Less than 2 years||130,000 JPY|
|More than 2 years||515,000 JPY|
|More than 5 years||2,300,000 JPY|
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A well-known island country off of the east coast of Asia, Japan is renowned for its rich culture consisting of traditional arts, elaborate gardens, and a unique architecture among many things. However, what people may not be aware of is that Japan is also home to a booming economy. Japan has the world’s third-largest economy when measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The largest contributor to Japan’s thriving economy is its robust service industry. The service industry is the tertiary sector of the economy which is involved in the manufacturing of goods, namely, motor vehicles, electronic equipment, and machine tools. A large proportion of these manufactured goods are then exported to several countries, with China being the largest consumer. This command over the export market has allowed Japan to have the world’s second-largest foreign exchange reserves worth $1.3 trillion.
By having such a successful economy, Japan ensures that its citizens are able to earn comfortable salaries in most career paths. A sure sign of a healthy economy can be seen in the average salary in Japan in 2021, which is around 515,000 JPY per month, amounting to 6.17 million JPY per annum.
Salary Comparison By Job/industry 2021:
|Localization, Interpreting & Translation||5,018,000円|
|Administration / Office Support||5,521,000円|
|Tourism, Travel & Hospitality||5,521,000円|
|Customer Service & Contact Centre||6,024,000円|
|Media, Arts & Entertainment||6,024,000円|
|Retail & Fashion||6,024,000円|
|Community & Government||6,024,000円|
|Construction & Architecture||6,527,000円|
|Logistics, Transport & Supply Chain||6,527,000円|
|Human Resources & Recruitment||7,030,000円|
|IT & Telecommunications||7,030,000円|
|Marketing, PR, Advertising & Communications||7,030,000円|
|Property & Real Estate||7,533,000円|
|Medical, Health & Scientific||7,533,000円|
|Legal, Compliance & Paralegal||7,533,000円|
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Minimum Wage in Japan
Most developed nations set a minimum wage that employers must pay their employees. The minimum wage is decided and enforced by a branch of government. The minimum wage in Japan is decided by the Central Minimum Wages Council in conjunction with their Labor Minister. The purpose of the minimum wage is to ensure that every citizen can meet basic living standards and can stay above the poverty line. The minimum wage is also a booster for the economy because it stimulates consumption as individuals living on minimum wage are likely to spend their money rather than save it. The minimum wage, therefore, ends up benefitting both the individual as well as the economy as a whole.
The current minimum wage in Japan was set for the fiscal year of 2020 and will be followed until April 1st of 2021. It rose by 1 Yen to be set at 902 JPY per hour.
Salary Distribution According to Careers
As is commonly the case, an individual’s average salary is dictated by the career they decide to pursue. Careers requiring highly skilled professionals or those fields that are in high demand tend to offer more lucrative average salaries. Japan is no exception to these trends and much like the rest of the world, those in the law or medical sector have more handsome salaries than most other service sectors.
The average salary in Japan of lawyers just stepping into their careers is 293,000 JPY while those attorneys with established practice can hope to make around 1,080,000 JPY per month. The average salary in Japan of engineers is 500,000 JPY per month while doctors earn an average salary of 1,200,000 JPY per month. The average salary in Japan of individuals in the accounting sector can range from 400,000 JPY for accountants to 1,050,000 JPY per month for financial managers.
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Since Japan is a country that celebrates its rich historic culture by promoting its art scene, creative jobs are also well paying. The average salary in Japan of Art Directors is 550,000 JPY per month while an architect can earn around 600,000 JPY per month. Teachers in most countries are underappreciated and earn a minimum wage. However, in Japan, that is not the case. Even school teachers, depending on their teaching level, can earn an average income of 400,000 JPY per month.
Salary Distribution According to Education Background
Gaining a higher education in order to secure a financially stable future is everyone’s goal. This is because salary prospects largely vary according to one’s educational background. The more qualified an individual is in the academic department, the more they can count on a hefty salary.
People with a Certificate or Diploma can expect to have 17% higher average salary in Japan than those with only a High School diploma. Upon gaining a Bachelor’s Degree, a further 24% rise in the average salary is to be expected.
People with a Master’s Degree earn 29% more than those with a basic Bachelor’s degree. This gap in the average salary in Japan is further increased by 23% upon acquiring a Ph.D. Since higher education is relatively more expensive, many people are hesitant to invest in it. But it is clear that this investment pays off.
Salary Distribution According to Work Experience
Fresh graduates initially search for entry-level jobs and make a basic wage. Then, as time goes on, they gain invaluable experience in their careers, allowing them to grow and become very well adapted to their jobs. The more years an individual gains inexperience, the larger their salary typically grows.
A 32% rise is seen in the average salary in Japan as an individual’s experience nears 5 years. When this experience doubles, average salaries are further increased by 36%. The increase beyond this is less steady but is still evident. A 21% rise in the average salary in Japan can be seen with 15 years of experience while a further 14% rise when that experience approaches 20 years.
Salary Distribution According to Gender
Historically, women have occupied a very small role in professional fields and have not formed a large chunk of a country’s labor force. However, with each passing year, gender roles are neutralizing and women are entering the workforce in droves. There is still a long way to go until gender equality is sufficiently achieved.
As of 2019, Japan proudly boasts of a workforce that has a female proportion of 44.5%, which is nearly an even split between the two genders. Unfortunately, the average salary in Japan of men and women does not represent that even split. There is a lack of concrete data regarding the gender wage gap in Japan. It is estimated, however, to lie between 6% and 25%. Needless to say, men have a higher average salary in Japan than their female counterparts.
Average Annual Salary Increment
Inflation is a constant worry in any individual’s life. The only tool to combat it is to observe a rise in one’s salary. An 8% increment in the average salary in Japan is expected every 16 months which is quite impressive as the world’s average increment is only 3%.
The increments do vary according to careers. Jobs in the Banking, Energy, and Information Technology sectors are more likely to observe increments while jobs in Construction or Teaching sectors are less likely to.
Salary Distribution in Comparison to Other Developed Nations
Japan is the third leading economy globally, trailing behind The Unites States of America and China as the first and second largest economies, respectively. Therefore, it is expected that the average salary in Japan must be comparable to these nations.
The average salary in the USA is 7,900 USD per month which is approximately equal to 860,000 JPY. The average monthly salary in China is 29,300 CNY which comes out to be roughly 488,000 JPY. It is therefore evident, that the monthly average salary in Japan of 515,000 JPY is significantly less than the US’s national average but is leading China’s monthly average by a small margin.
A similar trend is seen in the percentage of the population living below the poverty lines in these nations. China has the highest poverty rate amongst these three nations at 17 percent. Japan has a poverty rate of 15.4% while the US has the lowest rate at 10.5%.
The minimum wage in the USA is 7.25 USD per hour which when converted is around 790 JPY. The Chinese government does not enforce a nationwide minimum wage. Instead, the minimum wage varies from province to province. On average, the minimum wage in China is around 16 CPY which is approximately equivalent to 266 JPY. Hence, the higher minimum wage in Japan is providing its citizens with a better quality of life compared to its economic rivals. This statistic will enable Japan’s economy to continue to thrive. It may even one day become the reason Japan is able to overtake these nations and reach the top of the economic leader board.
Job Opportunities for Foreigners in Japan
Japan is a highly developed nation with a rich, immersive culture. Additionally, it is a pioneer in the world of electronics manufacturing, being home to some of the most famous household names such as Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Yamaha. It is no wonder that this versatility is what attracts several foreigners to this great country. Not all those visiting Japan are there for tourism. A booming economy is an attractive feature for most people who are looking for better work prospects in Japan. Foreigners come in search of better paying jobs and are seldom disappointed.
How to Earn Money in Japan
Japan has an aging population and a low birth rate which creates a demand for a young to middle age population which can be met by foreigners. Hundreds of jobs are available to foreigners, spread across all careers. According to the most recent data released by the Japanese government, the average salary in Japan for foreigners is 70% of the average salary in Japan of nationals. This fact does not deter most foreigners as they still stand to have better salary packages in Japan than in most other countries.
The highest paying sector to earn money in Japan is the IT industry. They have an average income of 4.61 million JPY per year. IT jobs are present for foreigners with non-Japanese individuals making 2.63% of this sector. Another sector that employs a large percentage of foreigners is the manufacturing sector which is the second-highest paying sector. Foreigners constitute 4.17% of this industry and the average income in Japan is 4.56 million JPY a year. The medical sector has an average income of 4.5 million JPY but employs a lower percentage of foreigners than most sectors. This sector will continue to flourish though, as Japan has a significant aging population. With an interest in finance, individuals can work for an average income in Japan of 4.46 million JPY. In this sector, investment banking jobs are very well paying. However, they too hire less than 1% of foreigners.
The service sector hires the highest percentage of foreigners at 5.12%. Unfortunately, they also have the lowest-paying jobs. The average income in Japan is 3.76 million JPY. English teacher is the most common job that foreigners hold in Japan. A foreign English teacher in Japan can earn an average salary ranging from 200,000 JPY to 600,000 JPY per month. Teachers teaching business English tend to earn a higher average income in Japan than those teaching in public or private schools. Foreigners usually obtain the Specified Skilled Worker Visa in order to work. The Japanese government plans to introduce a new visa soon which will not have a Japanese language skills required and will allow holders to bring in family members.
For foreigners looking for jobs in Japan, Daijob.com is Japan’s biggest website that provides a list of jobs available for bilinguals. Other websites such as yolo-japan.com and glassdoor.com also allow foreigners to explore various career opportunities in Japan.
Striving for a better salary is every individual’s goal in life. A hefty paycheck ensures a comfortable life devoid of financial insecurity and stress. Financial stress is the leading cause of divorce amongst couples. Therefore, it is no surprise, that we all are on the hunt for the next big career move that guarantees a more secure future for us and our family. However, what we consider a comfortable salary varies significantly. How we judge the sufficiency of our salary depends on many factors such as our quality of life, interests, family dependants and responsibilities. Therefore, there is no way to determine the ideal salary in Japan. A salary that may be attractive to someone may prove difficult to make ends meet for the other.
Hence, each individual should aim to work hard and maximize their efforts at their job. Tireless commitment combined with a desire to succeed in their career will guarantee fruitful results.