Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Japan recruiting scene goes pink


Tokyo’s first Pink Slip Party, held this week in the Roppongi Hills complex that used to house Lehman Brothers’ Japan operations, was certainly a success in terms of the number of media organisations that showed up. But whether the event, based on the Wall Street gatherings where laid-off bankers and recruiters network over drinks, worked by Japanese cultural standards was a little hard to tell.

In Japan’s conservative recruitment culture, you don’t usually hear people openly admitting to having been “restructured” out of a job, even amid the current financial crisis.


“There is a sort of stigmatism associated with being laid-off,” said Rajiv Sawhney, a former Lehman Brothers employee in Tokyo now looking to get back into the finance industry. Sawhney was one of only a handful of job-seekers at the party who was willing to speak to me on the record.

“Especially in Japan where it’s so rare for a Japanese company to lay people off, they don’t really want to tell people. They don’t want to network and find out if people can help them,” he said.