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Does the salary you make at first peg you for your time in Japan?

Hi all. My question is, does the salary you make when you arrive in Japan basically peg you for any jobs you look for later? Ideally, I’d land a job at Google or Indeed, which seem to pay reasonably close to US-scale, but I’d probably be willing to join a smaller startup that wouldn’t pay as much if it got me to Japan sooner. If I took a lower paying job from a startup, could I “level up” after a few years by doing the LeetCode grind and getting an offer from one of the bigger companies? Or would they basically say, you got paid 8 mln JPY at the startup, so we’re going to offer you 8.2 mln JPY.

Salary isn’t my primary concern, but I would like to know what the situation is before I decide to make any move.

While Japanese companies (and recruiters) may pressure you to tell them what your previous salary was, this is not something you need to do.

Bigger companies like Indeed and Google have set salary bands for a given role. So it’s less likely the compensation will be tied to that at your previous company.

Already being in Japan when job hunting has a premium attached to it. Companies would rather hire someone already based here than have to relocate them, and I think that extends even to the big international tech companies with the potential to relocate you.

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