Originally Posted by EpicSoulZ
Hi, Sangetsu san,
Thank you for your reply with very detailed information for what I would like to know.
I would be finishing my university studies in probably a year time and would wish to apply for a job in Japan with my current experience in the banking industry.
However, may I enquire whether is JLPT N2 a must in order to work in Japan? even if I go into a foreign investment bank just like your wife?
If possible I would like to go to Japan and experience the life there as soon as possible therefore taking JLPT N2 will delay this dream of mine.
Thank you and hope to receive your reply !
It is rather difficult to give advice. Japan has only one investment bank, and Japanese language skill is less important than English. I have friends at Nomura, SMBC, and MUFG, and these companies are using much of their recent returns on investments outside Japan.
Japanese banks tend to hire new grads from Japanese universities (a practice common with all large Japanese companies) for their Japan office staff. Few foreign workers are hired because of the necessary language skills, not to mention familiarity with business culture. And foreign workers in the financial industry can earn far more in America, Europe, or Hong Kong than they can in Japan.
A grad from a good school in Japan who lands a job at Nomura will make perhaps $35,000 in his first year, plus housing and transportation allowances. A grad from a good school in America who goes to work for JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs may earn as much as $200,000. A top-level trader in a Japanese bank will earn perhaps $150,000 or $200,000 per year, an American trader may earn millions.
The best grads which get into Japanese banks eventually jump ship and go to New York or London to work for the big boys and big money. If you are ambitious, that should be your aim. Tokyo does not much front-office work as far as foreign banks are concerned, but their back-office salaries are higher than what front-office people in Japanese banks earn.
If your heart is set on living and working in Japan, you should go ahead and begin applying at the better companies. Japanese language skills will be valuable, but English will be more so. Your resume should be in Japanese, limited to one page, and include a photo, that is the standard format here. If you are applying to a foreign company, it should include a CV and cover letter.
The economy in Japan is mature, as in not growing. The only market with good growth is the hospitality business, which is booming. Demand will only increase in the future, and I would apply to companies (be they banks, real estate and hotel developers, ad possibly casino operators) which emphasize this industry.