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Why LinkedIn isn’t effective in Japan

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In the Western world, LinkedIn is a staple for many recruitment professionals. It has proven to be a powerful tool for networking, talent sourcing and job postings. But in Japan, people don’t use LinkedIn.

Here’s why LinkedIn isn’t popular in Japan:

The job-for-life culture

Heaven forbid your boss sees that you have a LinkedIn profile. In Japan, having a LinkedIn profile is seen as advertising yourself as ‘on’ the job market. While in other countries, LinkedIn might be considered helpful for networking or sharing ideas, Japanese people perceive it as a job search site.

Therefore, creating a LinkedIn profile is essentially career suicide in a culture that highly values long-term commitment to the same company. It would be seen as an offense to a current employer. Being seen as a ‘job-hopper’ is frowned upon and can cause you to miss out on future opportunities

The low unemployment rate

Both LinkedIn and traditional job advertisements don’t perform well in Japan as a recruitment strategy. This is largely due to the low unemployment rate, which sat at around 2.5% in 2023. As a result, there are very few active candidates searching for work. It is rare for top candidates to be seeking work opportunities. Hence, LinkedIn is not seen as a tool that would have much use both from employers and employees.

Limited English proficiency

It is estimated that 20-30% of Japanese people speak some form of English, and as little as 2-8% speak English fluently. This is a barrier for LinkedIn adoption. While some areas of the LinkedIn platform can be displayed in Japanese, the vast majority of profiles are still in English. As a result, LinkedIn is seen by employees as being used by foreign companies with many Japanese preferring to work at local legacy companies.

A culture less prone to self-promotion

Generally, Japanese people tend not to boast about their achievements. LinkedIn is a blank slate to show off a person’s skills, experience and successes – something many Japanese people would be uncomfortable to make public. Promoting that you “developed a product” or “boosted profits” does not reflect the values of modesty or team work.

Relationships over online interactions

With limited job mobility, top talent usually only entertain job offers or do business deals with people they know or have been introduced to. It is more about ‘who you know’. This makes LinkedIn less helpful when face-to-face interactions and long term connections are prioritized.

Facebook over LinkedIn

Facebook is where Japanese professionals choose to network and foster business relationships. It is not uncommon to leave a networking event and receive multiple Facebook friend requests from people you have just met. It also is a platform that blends personal life with business life, allowing for closer relationships to be formed rather than purely business interactions.

Unfortunately, sourcing talent in Japan takes more than a perusal of LinkedIn. The good news is at Morunda we have the largest database of healthcare workers in Japan and give you access to a unique and exceptional talent pool. Book a discovery session and let us do the heavy lifting for you.

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