The signs say “Japan needs you!” Is it really true?

There has been a push on, centered around the companies who use G-Plus Media to advertise for jobs, to solicit resumes for English teachers in Japan.

I had gotten one of these general e-mails, and I notice that Shawn Thir also wrote about it at Letsjapan (“Japan doesn’t need you”).

When I was writing earlier about the Flyjin, a social group that I don’t think numbers more than a couple hundred, I said that one group that would likely leave would be English or Eikaiwa teachers (ALT or otherwise), because Japan’s own commitment to them is usually reed thin.

But I don’t think this has happened.

Shawn focuses on the pitch of the G-Plus affiliated advertisers. He feels that the Eikaiwa and ALT teachers are being recruited under some morally questionable pretenses. The businesses supposedly lost a sizable amount of teaching staff, and are now recruiting under the pretext that applicants are “helping Japan”, rather than bailing out these companies who are in a predicament.

But I don’t think they’re in a predicament. At least, there is no evidence, so far, that Japan-based teacher dispatching or contracting companies are going begging for workers–otherwise you’d see a lot more direct recruiting at their websites.

The sites of the major players are as stale as ever.

What I think these companies are afraid of is the possibility that the revolving door of foreigners is packed with fewer foreigners in the next couple months. That could be a problem.

If young people (let’s face it, it’s a discriminatory business) stop getting on the plane at the rate they had been coming to Japan, a certain number of squeeze-the-lemon business models might not work so well.

I also think this is why you see Temple President Ann Weaver Hart making videos about commitments to Japan for generations to come. If next year’s prospects get concerned about whether Temple Japan will be able to keep it going for the next couple years, you don’t get those prospects.

A lot of marketing of this aspect of Japan is focused much more on image than substance. At a time when people such as school boards might question the wherewithal of dispatch companies to be able to provide young foreign recruits, you have to be out there making like you are trying to get the recruits.

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2 comments

  1. ken44 · April 11, 2011

    —-If young people (let’s face it, it’s a discriminatory business) stop getting on the plane at the rate they had been coming to Japan, a certain number of squeeze-the-lemon business models might not work so well.————

    Right now gaijin English teachers might be in the best position they`ve been in for the last ten years but I seriously doubt this will last.

  2. hoofin · April 11, 2011

    Ken, I agree with you that, whatever is going on, it won’t last. My sense is, though, there aren’t a lot of openings. There isn’t the mad scramble that you would expect to find if thousands of people had picked up and bolted for their home countries.

    This is also reflected in apartment vacancies. Are they going up? Landlords are usually a lot less shy about saying how many units are open, since they aggressively hunt to fill them.

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