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Strong yen helps force back-office jobs out of Japan

Strong means costly

Strong means costly

It’s been on the rise since the start of the GFC and now the stronger Japanese yen is helping to force some back-office functions in Tokyo to offshore to mature operations hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as to lower-cost locations like China and India.

John McCrohon, director financial services, Robert Walters Japan, believes that offshoring to these markets is here to stay and there will be few Japan-based back-office positions up for grabs before the end of 2012 as a result.

“It is fair to say that most financial institutions have hired less in 2012 compared with 2010 and 2011,” says Lionel Kaidatzis, managing director, Morgan McKinley. “So the fact that job volume is down within these functions is in line with what we have seen across most other global locations.”

Compensation in the back office has been relatively flat in 2012 compared with previous years. “With a strong cost-management agenda across the board in finance, it is not easy to get a big salary increase,” says Guy Howard, banking team manager, Hays.

But there are still some jobs

At foreign banks in Japan, vacancies are mostly limited to critical replacement roles. “We are seeing industry professionals beginning to shift to products and functions that are less likely to be offshored, namely Japanese government bonds, Japanese client services, operational risk and project management,” says McCrohon.

There are also specialist opportunities with Japanese institutions, exchanges and regulators. “These include roles in settlements, clearing, regulatory reporting, client reporting, KYC and client onboarding,” says Howard.

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