On 24 July YEP held their third event since its inception this year. Panellists for the event included Cristina Merino (Head of Customer Relations, STH Japan), Mukund Rajan (Partner, PWC Strategy&), Gisselle Bates (General Manager, Global Compliance Promotion Department Lixil Corporation) and Vanessa Oshima (Vice President, Marketing, Starbucks Japan). YEP Chair Sam Brustad welcomed all to the event and noted one of the key aims was to help connect and empower young professionals in Tokyo. Sam noted that it was a great time to be a young professional in Tokyo, with 1 in 10 young people being a foreigner.
Two key questions were posed to panellists – the necessity of Japanese language to find work in Japan and career progression and development in Japan. Each panellist gave their own unique insights. Several of the panellists noted that a high level of Japanese language ability was not always a necessity, however what is more important is to have cultural understanding, adaptability and a willingness to learn. Other panellist’s opinions differed on this however, and noted for graduate roles or entry level positions, it is necessary to have proficiency. All panellists agreed that the more senior the position is at a company the less important language ability becomes.
Discussions then delved into career progression. One panel member noted that promotions and career development varied through companies, and many companies have a strength-based appraisal system in place. One panellist offered valuable information for guests to use in their futures careers: play to your strengths, make yourself visible, produce quality work and network. Ending the panel session of the evening on a good note, another panellist noted that it is a good time to be in Japan as many companies are becoming more outward looking.