By fiscal 2030, the parent company of Uniqlo hopes to have 80% non-Japanese managers

The operator of Uniqlo, Fast Retailing, is increasing its recruitment efforts outside of Japan with the goal of having 40% of its executive officers and 80% of management be foreign nationals by the end of the company's fiscal 2030 year.


The company is one of the first in Japan to establish goals with such specific numbers. It views foreign managers and executives as crucial to globalizing a wide variety of operations, from store development to supply chains and information technology, with fundamental functions now situated in both Japan and the U.S.


At the end of August 2023, Fast Retailing employed 2,144 managers, of whom 56% were non-Japanese, including 19% of its executive officers.


Fast Retailing is collaborating with universities throughout Asia and the rest of the world to hire bright talent in an effort to increase the number of potential managers in the future. Thus far, it has partnered with six universities in Vietnam and India, employing about 70 people, including MBA grads and IT specialists.


In an effort to attract international students to Japan, it also started an internship program in 2019. Of the approximately 1,100 recent graduates hired in fiscal year 2023, about 700 were employed overseas.


International recent graduates and mid-career hires are employed by Fast Retailing at its retail locations initially, to work their way up to become area managers and eventually country or regional CEOs.There are also paths to becoming directors in the domains of product development, logistics, and other industries.


Additionally, Fast Retailing is working to better retain people from abroad. It relaunched a program in 2023 that permits eligible employees to switch positions between departments and nations, giving them exposure to a range of experiences and developing their leadership skills.


This October, Uniqlo raised wages in China by as much as 40%. It increased the monthly salary of recent graduates in Japan to 300,000 yen ($1,900 at current exchange rates) in 2023, putting it about in line with competitors like Inditex, the company that runs Zara.


Fast Retailing Chairman and CEO Tadashi Yanai has stated, "I'm willing to pay 1 billion yen a year for someone who is capable." With competitive pay, the organization hopes to draw in expertise in areas such as supply chain management and information technology.


For the first time ever, Fast Retailing's revenue in the year ended August 2023 was mostly driven by Uniqlo's overseas activities. The secret to continuing overseas expansion is thought to be hiring more international executives.


Several Japanese businesses are expanding their global hiring efforts as well. By fiscal 2030, Hitachi aims to have thirty percent of its executive and corporate officers be foreign nationals, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group intends to maintain or increase the percentage of non-Japanese managers from the twenty-five percent as of March 2023.


As part of its new corporate governance rule as of June 2021, the Tokyo Stock Exchange strongly advises listed companies to specify their stances and objectives on managerial diversity.


Few have, however, established precise goals in relation to foreign management. As of fiscal 2022, only 29% of blue-chip businesses listed on the TSE's Prime market have at least one foreign executive, according to ProNed, a Tokyo-based governance consultancy firm.


Japan ranked 22nd out of 38 top economies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's 2023 assessment of attractiveness to highly skilled workers.


According to Peter Rackowe of organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, Japanese organizations must offer full support to foreign staff, including assistance with language, organizational culture, and family matters.


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