Yesterday’s classroom won’t prepare our kids for tomorrow’s jobs .

By on November 14, 2017


So much has happened in the last 20 years in the global job market. Despite Japan’s low unemployment rate, it is facing real challenges in filling up job vacancies.

In a recent press briefing, Marc Burrage, Managing Director of HAYS Specialist Recruitment K.K., global recruiting experts, said Japan ranks second worst among the 5 countries with difficulties finding skilled workers.  And the reason? Talent mismatch.


Hays attributes the disconnect between what people in Japan can do and what businesses want, to 3 reasons:

1. People stop studying and learning after graduating from universities because of Japan’s ‘gakureki shakai’ mindset. This means ‘a college diploma alone is adequate to prove one’s academic achievement’.

2. Japan places more focus on making students cultivated than developing their professional skills.

3. Workers have no motivation for personal/professional development and are not interested in upgrading their skills because salaries for highly skilled people are lower than those paid in other industrialized countries.



In order to win the global war on talent, the Japanese government is exploring new options.  In fact from 2020 onwards, it will be introducing practical education and compulsory programming lessons at primary schools. It is also relaxing visa requirements for highly skilled foreign professionals and attracting immigrants with advanced IT skills from India and Vietnam.


In order to fill future jobs, “the acquisition of multi-skills will be very important,” informs Burrage. He warns, “college diploma alone won’t be good enough.”

Japan, for example is grappling with care worker shortage and talent mismatch. There is more than twice the number of jobs for every jobseeker in the care industry. However proficient in English and qualified foreign talented nurses are, the ability to speak in Japanese matters.

“Fully bilingual doctors, lawyers and multi-linguists with STEM skills are highly sought and this trend will continue,” informs Marc. He goes on to say, “From a Tech business perspective, IT workers in other countries are actively up-skilling. Japan has the smallest force of people who study and will be left behind in the global IT industry if the gap is not fixed.”

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry made a study on the percentages of IT workers who voluntarily work on enhancing their professional skills outside of their work. The results –

 Indonesia 47.2%, Vietnam 30.6%, Thailand 28.2%, 25.2%, China 25.2%, U.S.A. 24.6%, India 23.6%, South Korea 20.2%, and Japan 10%.

(Source: METI Study of Recent Trends and Future Estimates Concerning IT Human Resources)


Software Engineers are needed every part of the economy, making this one of the fastest-growing job titles in industrialized countries. Even so, it’s not for everybody. Designing, developing and testing computer programs requires some pretty advanced math skills and creative problem-solving ability. If you’ve got them, you can work and live wherever you want because telecommuting is quickly becoming widespread. Cutting edge projects like designing a video game, release of the latest software product, etc. Overall, they must possess strong programming skills, but are often more concerned with developing algorithms and analyzing data and solving programming problems than with actually writing code.

Typically software engineers, working in applications or systems development, analyze first the needs of the user.


Jobs that are difficult to be replaced by robots

IT Analysts/Network Operations Director
It seems like the entire planet is at the mercy of information technology, thanks to the rapid spread of computers, media devices and the internet. Almost all IT jobs pay well from desktop support technicians to Senior database specialists except for Japan where salary still lags behind compared to countries in North America and Europe. There is a lot of outsourcing happening in this field so the action will involve a lot of moving around.

Global Market Research Analyst
This is for you if you want to know what the next big thing is. Everyday there is a new product and service in the global market. Before launching a product or service, companies turn to market research analysts to collect data about consumer needs, wants and buying habits. There is a stream of complex data to work on and interpretation of market behaviors in different industries or even analyze polling data.

Human Resources Manager
HR is no longer about benefits administration and employee newsletter. Its mission is to make work more rewarding for workers and help shape corporate culture and strategy.Those tasks are increasingly outsourced, and directors and higher ups are considered strategic planners in today’s business environment. Even lower-level managers are expected to design employee programs that also benefit the bottom line. International HR and compliance are especially in demand in Japan. There’s a wide variety of work, from benefits specialists to corporate recruiters and HR generalists.


We have seen how digitalization has disrupted the marketplace. Many jobs were lost and new ones created in just a matter of 10-15 years. People didn’t see that coming.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported recently that there is a gap between what people learn and skills people need. Tomorrow’s jobs will place high importance on people’s ability to solve problems, skills linked to social and emotional proficiency. An analysis of 213 case studies shows students who received social and emotional learning instructions scored 11 points higher than those who did not.


Curricula at schools have mostly shifted to project-based learning. Children in modern classrooms today practice science no different from what engineers do. They work collaboratively to investigate, discuss, ask questions, explore challenges and solve problems. The idea behind this change is to prepare children for the top 10 skills needed for STEM careers.

1. Complex problem solving
2. Critical Thinking
3. Creativity
4. People management
5. Coordinating with others
6. Emotional Intelligence
7. Judgement and Decision making
8. Service Orientation
9. Negotiation
10. Cognitive flexibility


“Where a person is born no longer determines his destiny,” says world-famous CEO Carlos Ghosn best known for saving Japanese car maker NISSAN from bankruptcy.  Ghosn, a Brazilian-Lebanese-French businessman who earned an Engineering degree at the École Polytechnique   in France, speaks four languages: French, Portuguese, English and Arabic, skills that he said, have helped him be ‘culturally sensitive’ in balancing the running of Renault and Nissan both with separate cultural identy.

“Twenty years ago, it was normal for people to work in their home country, but from now on, more people will live and work far away from their birthplace. This opens up new opportunities but also exposes individuals to new risks.”

“My children also grew up with many cultural influences. They were born in Brazil and the U.S., and they received their education in France, Japan and the U.S.,” writes Ghosn in his personal history.

“Everywhere they have lived, they have picked up pieces of the culture: They have adopted the graciousness and scrupulousness of the Japanese people, while also embodying a uniquely French way of thinking. I believe that one day the world will be filled with people like them, those who retain their identities while embracing globalization.”

When asked what he teaches his four children in order to succeed in the 21st century,  he answered,

“Embrace diversity. It’s your world. The world is going to be more and more diverse. Interact with people of different culture, education, religion, beliefs, background, etc. Travel to places, learn languages, different cultures, develop empathy skills, be curious about other people, and see how differences can be used to create solutions. Do not reject something just because it is different from how you see things – that’s negative stuff.”

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