Welcome to the 2023 Japan Digital Salary Benchmark, conducted by Cogs, a renowned global recruitment agency specializing in digital transformation. We specialize in recruitment for e-commerce, digital marketing, social media, design, creative, and data analytics.
Our expertise extends across a wide spectrum of companies, including tech-forward organizations and those currently engaged in digital transformation initiatives. Our client base represents diverse industries, including retail, consumer goods, healthcare, and more. In addition to collaborating directly with major corporations, we also engage with the network of specialized vendors and companies within each industry. These entities encompass digital agencies, consulting firms, and software companies, all of which contribute to the evolving landscape of digital transformation.
Salaries on offer can vary significantly. In-house salaries depend on the industry, with fashion and entertainment offering the lowest salaries compared to high-tech companies in software, finance and payments offering the highest. Digital-first and tech companies generally pay more than their traditional counterparts. Additionally, foreign tech companies or those backed by foreign entities tend to offer higher salaries than Japanese equivalents.
Highest base salaries on offer
When considering the highest base salaries, big tech companies rank at the top, followed by global software firms and then digital agencies/consultancies specializing in digital transformation and design, and the lowest would-be in-house roles.
Annual Bonuses and share incentive
Typical bonuses vary depending on the level and type of company. Major advertising and digital agencies may offer annual bonuses of 10-15%, while in-house and consultancy bonuses could reach 20%. Big tech, global software and some MNCs offer share incentives in their packages.
As the highest payers by far, big tech companies often provide annual bonus and share incentives amounting to 40-50% of the annual base salary.
Trends from the past 12 months
- The demand for digital skills in Japan has remained steady despite global turbulence.
- The agencies and consultancies continue to be the primary talent pool for digital skills in e-commerce, marketing, design, creative, and data roles. However, we have seen a growing desire among agency professionals to transition in-house for more ownership and work-life balance. Right now, the demand for agency people wanting to move from agency to inhouse far outstrips the supply of these roles.
- While the top salaries offered have not seen significant increases in the past 12 months, the lower range of salary expectations has risen due to competition for talent and employee retention efforts. For example, in e-commerce, we have noticed an increase in hiring for EC Managers which has increased rates on offer, compared to EC Directors where they have been less roles and rates have remained steady.
- There have been layoffs in big tech companies, resulting in a surplus of candidates with salaries 40% above the wider market rate. However, these companies have paused hiring, leaving many experienced professionals seeking employment. Some candidates have accepted lower salaries to secure work, while others have held out for comparable compensation.
- Candidates today seek meaning and purpose in their work and the companies they join. In many cases, people are willing to earn less than their current salary to work for a company they truly believe in.
- Return to the office Vs fully remote. The current trend in the job market shows a divide between companies aiming to bring employees back to the office for a 2-3 day workweek and candidates actively seeking job opportunities that provide greater flexibility. Companies are encouraging employees to return to the office, while candidates are increasingly willing to change jobs in pursuit of a better work-life balance and increased flexibility. This indicates a growing desire for a balanced work environment and the freedom to choose between remote work and office-based work.
About the numbers in our salary survey
Our survey focuses on base salaries for bilingual candidates working in international companies. Bilingual talent commands the highest salaries, especially in high-demand roles such as digital marketing, e-commerce, sales, and data analytics, where supply is limited.
Listed below are the base salaries candidate could expect but the range can be wide based on the industry, global nature, and type of company such as tech company vs traditional. Also, the bonuses and share incentives vary greatly.
- Salary Survey