Monday, December 07, 2009

Toast 2009 goodbye and say hello to a healthier and wealthier 2010!


Sorry for not posting my blog sooner, I was involved in revamping my company's IT system, creating a new website and other projects in the past few months.

We are now approaching the end of the full horror of 2009 and there are signs of momentum in the Tokyo job market. International companies in Japan are starting to realize that there is a limit to do “more with less” when it comes to staffing. Companies with headcount and recruiting budgets are trying to hire the best out of the hundreds or thousands of resumes they are receiving each month. Certainly there are many candidates in the job market who have been unemployed for more than 6 months and realizing that flexibility and persistence are the key elements to getting the interview and ultimately an offer. Partnering with a reliable agent with good contacts and strong channels will certainly help increasing your chances in landing a good job during this difficult times.

In terms of the big picture, the US finally showed some growth in the third quarter which was the strongest in the past few years.
Stock markets are showing signs of hope and we can see the Dow Jones hovering just over the 10,000 mark consistently. Countries like India and Taiwan which were hit hardest by the downturn are now showing signs of great improvement with nearly 10% growth. With the recent Dubai Crisis, it will be affecting markets abroad but I doubt it will have a severe global impact like we all felt in the fall of 2008 and early this year.

Al’s predictions for 2010:

The US Economy will steadily improve with a slight decrease in unemployment, the famed jobless recovery will apply here again. Talking to some analysts, they feel that the worst is over and the storm has passed but I predict it will take a little longer before we bask in the sunshine again. So, save the champagne for the third of fourth quarter of 2010.

Japan already experienced growth in the third quarter but now needs to tackle deflation. According to the Finance Minister, Hirohisa Fujii,
“ The recent price falls are not right and worrisome”. He is highlighting the fact that Japan’s economy is being severely affected by falling prices, excess capacity and a soon to be crippling deflation which may lead to more restructuring with large Japanese companies. If I were working for any of the big Japanese leading companies, I would be preparing my resume and/or my early retirement strategy as well as thinking about a second career. The wait and see attitude might not payoff this time around. I predict Japan will suffer from deflation in the coming three quarters.

This year in 2009, we saw several major consumer/luxury brand companies pull out of Japan while expanding operations in China. I believe we will be seeing more of this as Japanese consumer trends will continue to go toward the casual, less expensive, mass-produced and away from the megabrands. The Japanese have discovered H&M, IKEA and COSTCO and they’re liking it.

The IT industry will be steady with an increasing demand for contract workers with most of the jobs coming from the software, mobile and web related sectors.

Healthcare / Pharmaceutical and Medical Device will have continued growth with jobs for MRs, Medical specialists, Regulatory, Quality Assurance and related positions.

There will be continued demand for experienced engineers, accountants, HR professionals, legal specialists and sales professionals. These are the typical types of jobs that seem to be available in downturns. 2010 we will see more positions for marketing / advertising and PR specialists which we have been receiving in recent months.

Several top level Japanese executives said to me recently that Japan is finished and we are now seeing the beginning of the end. I disagree as there is plenty to boast about Japan’s technological edge in key areas, investment in R&D, political stability, educated workforce, purchasing power parity, household saving rate and with more reforms on the way. I am sure Japan will make a modest but noticeable recovery in 2010.

I wish you continued success for the remainder of 2009 and best wishes for the holiday season!!!


Al Isago Parvez
CEO & Representative Director
Advance Inc.