The more than 2,000 Japanese multinational enterprises (MNEs) existing in Germany are popular working places not only for Japanese expatriates but also German or third-country nationals regardless of their Japanese language skills. However, for many European candidates, it is not clear what the advantages of working for Japanese companies are, compared to other MNEs or German companies.

In this article, the advantages of working for Japanese MNEs located in Germany will be explained in detail.

Dynamic Job roles

A big number of the Japanese MNEs in Germany have European HQ functions. It means, the targeted tasks of the Japanese MNEs in Germany are not limited only to the local German market, but more likely focusing on the European market, as well as many African and Arabic countries (i.e. EMEA market).

Small Medium-sized


Employees Up to 10 10 – 100 100 –
Targeted Market Germany, DACH Area European market EMEA
Function Sales Sales, CS, marketing, etc. More complexity including R&D
Local activities Short Medium Long

Thanks to these global job activities, employees working there can enjoy international assignments including business trips to other counties, negotiations, and local marketing. However, to which extend you are assigned to work on international tasks depends on the roles and the size of the subsidiary, as shown above. The bigger the subsidiary is, the more international activities you can expect. Also, the age of the local subsidiary matters.

Diversity and global environment

global team

Japanese MNEs operating in Germany
usually look for employees of different backgrounds and nationalities; not only Japanese expatriates and local German employees but also third-country nationals (TCNs) often get positions there, focusing mainly on other European markets. Any nationals from other countries are always welcome as long as they speak English. Not surprisingly, many Asian students who graduated from German universities tend to work for big Japanese companies in Europe.

A diverse working environment brings you positive effects in terms of international business, e.g. through working with your Chinese colleagues, Japanese HQ, and German assistants, you may learn different ways of conducting business, which can enhance your negotiation and communication skills.

Enhancement of your language skills

In many cases, the official language used in the Japanese MNEs in Germany is English (between German-only employees the German language is used though), with which all parties in the company can communicate smoothly, and this can be a good opportunity to enhance your English knowledge. Also, if you are working with Japanese HQ, Japanese colleagues, or with employees at other locations (as such, American subsidiaries, Chinese OEM factories), you have opportunities to speak other languages as well.

If you are skilled in German, English, and Japanese, you have more opportunities to communicate with workers from Japan and have business trips there, thanks to which you can improve not only your verbal language skills but also broaden your intercultural perspective, developing at a cognitive level.

High job security

Described by the term “life-term employment”, Japanese companies are regarded to offer one of the most protective working environments for employees (although it is not statistically shown in the OECD database as it is frequently handled in an “unwritten form” instead of under labor-law or labor contracts). Once you are hired by a Japanese company, you cannot be made redundant easily due to its human-oriented and long-term-oriented business style.

Corporate culture by country

Japanese company

German company

American company

Perspective Long-term Medium-term Short-term
Job security Extremely high High Middle, low
Management Human-oriented Contract-oriented Contract-oriented

Japanese MNEs in Germany frequently inherit their own corporate culture, while taking advantage of some German laws. This kind of corporate culture is known as “hybrid organization”, adopting chosen characteristics of home country and host country. (Related research: When a Japanese subsidiary is not a Japanese subsidiary, Voisey 2010)

Traditionally, the main concern of Japanese culture is to cultivate long-term businesses (amazingly, the oldest existing company in the world is a Japanese company established in A.D. 578!) and for that purpose, Japanese companies try to keep human resources as long as possible.

International Career path and training plan

The term Global Talent Management is getting more trendy in the human resources management field and many MNEs are keen to develop their own career paths for their employees. Japanese MNEs in Germany, although it depends on the company, offer some specific career paths for local employees such as global allocation, working experience in Japanese HQ, or global training projects for potential future managers.

The basic model of Global Talent Management in MNEs

(Adopted from Integrating leadership development and succession planning best practices, Groves 2007)

Recently, many MNEs are keen to provide unique training projects to secure attractive employees from all over the world. Japanese MNEs in Europe, especially in Germany, are of course not an exception and offer interesting training projects and career paths for their employees. Even if you don’t speak Japanese but are interested in an international and dynamic working environment, applying for Japanese MENs in Germany is definitely worth considering!