Average Salaries and Job Benefits in Japan

Salaries and benefits for jobs in Japan

When looking for a job, one thing you need to know is how much you will be paid. Another must-know are the non-monetary benefits you can receive. How much can you make by working in Japan?

Depending on your home country, the wages in Japan might be higher, lower, or around the same. The health care and social insurance may also be different. Economic factors including living expenses and business factors affect wages, but compared to other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, however, the pay in Japan is lower.

Non-monetary benefits in Japan, including public health care, however, are considered to be of higher quality than in the United States. This is helpful for saving money and improving overall quality of life. It should not be overlooked.

Continue reading to find out in detail about pay and benefits for those just starting careers in Japan.

Starting salaries in 2018 in Japan

According to 2018 statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 4-year college graduates in Japan got a starting monthly salary of 206,700 yen (around $1,848 US dollars) for both females and males. This is a 0.3% increase from 2017. For those with a master's degree or higher, the average starting pay was around 238,700 yen, or around $2,134 US dollars per month. This is 2.3% higher than the pay in 2017.

Salaries also change by location. Unsurprisingly, the highest prefecture for average starting salary for college graduates was in Tokyo, with 215,500 yen ($1,927.00 US dollars). The second-highest was Kanagawa Prefecture, home to the second-largest city in Japan, Yokohama, with 210,400 yen ($1,881 US dollars).

Osaka had a starting salary of 208,100 yen ($1,861 US dollars). Kyoto had a slightly higher salary, with 208,300 yen ($1,863 US dollars) per month. The prefectures with the lowest pay were Akita (179,700 yen or $1,607 US dollars) and Okinawa (180,500 yen or $1,614 US dollars).

The starting salary figures listed above and country-wide have only increased by approximately 3.8% since 2009 due to recession, slower economic growth, a labor shortage, and issues with decreasing population.

Salaries in Japan by industry

How much jobs pay depends on many factors, including the industry of the company you are part of. In 2018 in Japan, official statistics from the same Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare survey above showed that the starting monthly salary for college graduates (female and male) in scientific research, professional, and technical services was 224,500 yen (around $2,006 US dollars).

On the other hand, the lowest-paying industry was the hospitality and restaurant industry, with 198,100 yen, or $1,771 US dollars for recent college graduates.

For graduates with master's degrees and higher education, the highest-paying industry was finance and insurance, with an average of 241,500 yen per month. This equals around $2,159 US dollars. The lowest monthly salaries were in the medical and welfare industry, with a pay of 201,300 yen, or approximately $1,800 US dollars.

In addition to education level, location, and industry, the survey also examines the size of companies in relation to pay. In general, larger firms pay a higher wage than small-size companies.

Another important factor, however, are the benefits often included at Japanese companies. These commonly are health care, commuting fees, and housing allowances or discounts for rent. This means it is important to think about the base salary and these benefits when considering which job to take.

You can save money on health care and medical check-ups in Japan often as workplaces will pay a high percentage of the cost--usually around 70%. Additionally, an annual check-up is provided by many workplaces, which is free of charge.

Your commute on the train, subway, or bus will also be reimbursed by your workplace, and you can get a commuter's pass. This means if you work in Tokyo or Osaka, you can live outside the city or in a less expensive area, commute to work, and save on rent money.

In addition, apartment rent can be partially or, even fully paid for sometimes. If you are relocating to a rural part of Japan, you may live in an employee dormitory or will have your apartment entirely subsidized. Make sure to check to see or ask about the company's policy on housing allowance.

Not having to pay for housing fees will greatly improve your financial freedom and let you save money, allowing you to enjoy life in Japan even more.

The starting monthly pay in Japan and non-monetary benefits listed above are the standard averages in Japan for workers who started out as company employees as of June 2018. Pay raises, bonuses, and increased benefits come with seniority and higher job performance. This is the standard in Japanese companies. Even if the starting salary is not as high as you like, there is chance for growth.

It is also important to note that the cost of living in Japan, including food and rent, outside of large cities like Tokyo and Osaka, is considered inexpensive relative to Western countries, like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. This means it is possible not only to live comfortably, but also to save money, even on a Japanese salary.

If you want to start a job or are looking for a career change in Japan, let us be your guide! Sign up for DOC's easy and free service that matches job seekers in Japan with recruiters who will help you find your ideal career.

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The statistics for the monthly salary figures listed in this article can be found on the official website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

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