Japan Needs Engineers

High-Tech Japanese, Running Out of Engineers: "'We don’t need to find jobs,' said Kenta Yaegashi, 24, another electrical engineering senior. 'They find us.' He said his father, also an engineer, was envious of the current sellers' market, much less crowded than the packed field he faced 30 years ago. Even top manufacturers, who once had their pick of elite universities, say they now have to court talent. This means companies must adapt their recruiting pitches to appeal to changing social attitudes." -- New York Times

Good. Companies should have to court talent because that helps promote a cycle of creativity, innovation, and competition. That's the first thing I noticed when I came here. I didn't see a talent market. But if the raw -- and obvious -- shortage of engineers in Japan helps wash out all the old traditional companies that would be wonderful for the future of the Japanese economy. It's good to see innovative companies looking elsewhere for talent, though, as the article cites.

Guess if I lived in the US or anywhere outside of Japan and wanted to be a Engineer living in Japan, now would be the time to put your hat in the ring.

Kind of wishing now I was an Engineer....

Posted by David Vasta on May 22, 2008 at 05:11 PM JST #

Japanese companies don't look for talents.
They look for "yaruki" That means, people that have the will and strong to work. It's a really primitive concept that is far away nowadays needs. If I need a warrior that is ready to go to a battlefield and give all the energy he can, in that case I want he has a lot of "yaruki". But an engineer is not a warrior is a Brain with hands. A brain that needs to be refreshed, that needs to be happy to produce.
When Japanese industry produces many manufactures, the need to have people staying hours and hours producing, was in some way logic. Nowadays they want to produce services, software, ideas... So strong hand working is not necessary. They want to apply the yaruki concept for intellectual jobs, that's wrong.

I was working in a traditional Japanese software company for almost a year and a half. The people keep working so many hours, that their brains stop to work. They couldn't produce more, get frustrated and depressed. It has no sense. I tried to explain to my boss that if we work less time and have a funnier environment we will produce more. He didn't understand, and only said I didn't have yaruki because I'm a foreigner.

It’s a shame, but I think that companies will take a long time to understand that it’s time to make a strong change. I’m worry that when they realize about that, it’ll be too late.

Posted by Pietro Zuco on May 23, 2008 at 05:04 AM JST #

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Posted by japan on May 23, 2008 at 02:02 PM JST #

"yaruki" is an interesting concept and I do recall some of it when I lived there. I work now for a Swedish company in the US and they to have some concepts that are interesting to me as well. While Japan can be very intense everyone needs to be willing to have fun and explore other areas while at work.

All work and no play make Jack a very dull boy.....

Oh and thanks for the insight. It's all very interesting.


Posted by David Vasta on May 23, 2008 at 04:29 PM JST #

Pietro ... I agree that many traditional JP companies are like that, which will not serve the country well as others pass JP by (China, India, the US, Europe, etc). I'm certainly not going to participate in a losing battle by embracing old standards. I have two questions for the traditionalists you are talking about and the ones in the article: "Show me how your way is working better? Where are the results?" That's it. If it works better, fine, I'll do it. Otherwise, I need to move on and do what's clearly more innovative. However, I wonder if the kids in JP will accept these old ways? I wonder if they'll embrace more innovative work habits to compete as they see other nations passing them by? Those are the companies and communities I'm interested in engaging with in Japan. And also, your boss actually said that? Wow. :)

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on May 26, 2008 at 05:30 AM JST #

> Show me how your way is working better?
Sure it works! Just see the delays I have almost twice a week due suicides in train railways...

>Where are the results?
The results are marvelous! In fact they same economic problems other developed countries. Many homeless, there won’t be money to pay pensions, young people that don’t want to work, and so forth... The difference is that in western countries people is not so depressed.

>the kids in JP will accept these old ways?
Sure in fact young people don't want to work as a salariman. They run with temporal works and spend parent’s money. I don't know how will be the future of kinds. Japan needs immigration, but we all know how government thinks about this matter...

>And also, your boss actually said that?
My boss in the company I was working for in the past. He works weekends, 14 hours per day. He was young but seems really old. It’s just insane. Fortunately my actual company has nothing similar to the old one and my actual boss is a really cool guy. I forget, my actual company is a French one ;-)

I hope this words help in some way. I know many Japanese people, really creative and intelligent that want to change things but it’s hard. It’s a kind of power harassment.
I don’t want just to criticize. I want to make constructive criticism because I think this country have a lot of talent that can’t get out due this old, archaic and absurd mentality that have no relationship with actual time and tendencies.

Posted by Pietro Zuco on May 26, 2008 at 06:12 AM JST #

Pietro ... absolutely amazing. And I agree about the people who want to change things, too. I'm with them. And you. :)

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on May 26, 2008 at 06:40 AM JST #

I would like to see a time where a smart teenager who smokes pot can become an engineer beyond our time. crazy. I play world of warcraft and can kill people without losing health sometimes. 1v1 combat.
Played video games my whole life. When i was a kid i had the best math grades. 1-5 than i moved to an area 45 min away but it was a complete change. Got a b-c average in middle school 6-8. now im finishing my 2nd year of high school and cant wait to get out..

Posted by David Sand Y.T.nuelement on May 20, 2009 at 07:52 AM JST #

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