Part-time jobs in Japan are truly abundant. However, they usually require a solid knowledge of Japanese. If your Japanese is still weak, English can make the difference. International restaurants and language schools are usually looking for staff capable of speaking English as well as other languages. There are also several websites posting job offers targeting foreigners.
Whether we call it part-time job or baito, finding a source of revenue is usually on top of the list of things to do for students who just came to Japan. Nonetheless, many of them still don’t know how to find one. In this post, you’ll find answers to the following questions: How to find a job in Japan? Is it easy? Is it possible to find a job in Japan without speaking Japanese?
Part-time jobs in Japan: what’s a baito?
First things first, it’s imperative to know that, in Japan, most of the time a part-time job is called “baito”. This word is an abbreviation of “Arubaito” (アルバイト), which derived from the German word “Arbeit” that means “work”. Although they’re mostly occupied by students, it doesn’t mean that only students have access to them. There are several adults, women and elderly people “doing baito” as well. Interviews for baito are usually quick and the salary can be paid in cash, since it is usually not that high. As a baito is often temporary, the staff’s turnover can be pretty high. It is not unusual for Japanese people to have a baito on top of their main job, in order to get some extra cash.
How to find a baito in Japan?
Over the past few years, Japan has been close to a situation full-employment. With an unemployment rate between 2.5% and 4%, there has never been as few job seekers as today. Nowadays, it is estimated that, in Japan, there are 150 job offers for 100 job seekers. Therefore, recruiting has never been so laborious. In such a context, for Japanese students, finding a baito has become barely more than a formality. The process isn’t much more complicated for foreign students, however, there are a few more constraints.
Working in Japan: legal framework for foreign students
There are a few rules set by the Japanese administration that foreigners need to follow if they want to work with a student visa. For example, you won’t be allowed to work without a working permission. Once obtained, you will only be allowed to work a limited number of hours per week (c.f. article page XX [paper version] keep that pink sentence in english please). The same kind of rules apply to people staying in Japan and aspiring to work with a Working Holiday Visa (c.f. article page XX [paper version] keep that pink sentence in english please). Read these two articles for more details.
Working in Japan without speaking Japanese
Another difficulty about working in Japan has to do with your own Japanese level. Most jobs require minimal verbal exchanges with clients and a certain knowledge of Japanese. This requirement, although very coherent, can quickly become an issue for beginners who just got to Japan. However, there are several jobs that do not require candidates to speak advanced Japanese.
First of all, there are jobs requiring English speakers. With more than 31 million visitors in 2018 (8 million in 2013), tourism in Japan is in full bloom. Japanese people’s English level being relatively low in general, many companies are seeking for foreign workers to make up for it. These foreign workers will be in charge of communication with foreign customers. However, even though English may be the key to finding a job, you will still need to learn a few Japanese terms in order to be able to welcome all customers. In the long run, you will most likely need to strengthen your Japanese skills as well.
Then, there are jobs that don’t require any interaction with customers. Several jobs of this kind can be open to foreigners, even with a low level of Japanese, such as jobs in game developing companies, software tester jobs or localisation jobs. However, these positions usually require applicants to take a written test in their native language. Chefs, kitchen assistants and dishwashers also fall in this category of jobs.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to find a baito as a foreigner would be to work in restaurants or shops from your own country, available here in Japan. For customers looking for authentic experiences, a staff who is actually from the country where the restaurant or shop is from can make a great difference. For example, an Italian waiter in a pizzeria, a French staff member in a pastry shop or a British national in a pub.
How to find a job in Japan?
Our Japanese language school, SNG, has a platform on which job offers from businesses in our area (Takadanobaba – Shinjuku) are regularly uploaded. For others, here are three ways to find a job in Japan.
First, even though it might sound surprising, there are so many vacant positions for baitos in Japan, the only thing you need to do is to walk down the street to find a job. Look in storefronts, on shop doors, in cafes and restaurants around you and you will inevitably see job offers.
Another way to go around is networking. Baitos available for foreigners are mostly the same everywhere. If you have friends or acquaintances from your own country in Japan, make sure to get their support as you look for a job. Don’t hesitate to meet more people from your country in Japan as they can help a lot in finding your first job here.
One more option is to simply look up job opportunities on the Internet. These past few years, many job platforms directed at foreigners have emerged, the most famous one remaining Gaijinpot.