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Is 250,000 yen/month a good salary for an experienced mobile developer?

Hi guys!

I got in touch with a company that I would like to work with and after an interview they made me an offer. This offer was with the value described in the title. 250,000 yen/month + commute pass + health ins. and other standard perks.

What is holding me back is the fact that the offer was lower than what I was expecting. I am a mobile developer with 3 years of experience and quite a few applications shipped. This position that I am applying to is for what I have experience in, mobile development.

From what I have seen everywhere, 250k is not even close to what an entry-level position would be paid. Also worth noting that I will live with my fiancee which will be studying and not providing any source of income.

I would really like to go to work to Japan, but that salary is worst than the one that I have in my country… and my country is going through a crisis.

What do you guys think of this?

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That sounds like a traditional Japanese company salary, where they aren’t paying you based on your skill, only your age. 250K/month is enough to support yourself, but not save money or provide for your fiancee. If you want to live together in somewhere that isn’t cramped, you’d likely have to live on the outskirts of Tokyo, and be faced with a long commute. Two more things you should clarify is whether the company offers seasonal bonuses and if they pay overtime (some companies include overtime in your compensation).

There are better paying jobs out there, but there also aren’t so many companies that are willing to hire developers living overseas (which I’m guessing is your situation). The two main options I see for you are:

  1. Tell the company you’d need a higher salary to work for them, and be prepared for them not to hire you. At 350K/month you’d have a big increase in quality of life.
  2. Accept their offer as a way to come to Japan, and look for a better paying job once you’re here. If you have worked here a year or two, you’ll be a lot more attractive to potential employers.

Personally, the thing I’d worry about more than the money is the working conditions. In addition to the low salary, are you also going to need to put in lots of overtime? Do they have a good development process in place? Are there other more senior developers you can learn from? If it is a really good place to work, the salary doesn’t matter as much (though companies who pay less tend to be worse places to work).

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“though companies who pay less tend to be worse places to work” is a great insight. Is there a list somewhere of companies that are known to be great places to work in Japan (not just Tokyo)?

How did you decide, if you don’t mind me asking?

I’m in the same shoes as you are (were), I was just offered Y250.000 a month (before taxes) for a Software Engineer position (robotics field). Which is much less than I was expecting. There is room for negotiation, I think, but my initial expectation was at least double than that and I don’t think I’ll be able to negotiate that high.

To put things into context, I have a comfortable job in a much cheaper city (eastern-EU) and I am making roughly the same amount here (true, Japan has less taxes) - so while both the job itself and Tokyo sounds great, I don’t think it is worth for me to give up my current life. Maybe not even for Y500.0000/month.

Pretty much as Paul said. ¥250k is low. Did you interview remotely? If so, that may have been a reason. It’s a bigger risk for them to bring someone in from another country, costs them in terms of getting visas sorted, your ramp-up time etc.

Plus they probably think the supply and demand forces of “I want to come and live in Tokyo” and the difficulty of successfully getting a job from outside the country allow them to pay less… which sadly is probably the case.

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Just for comparison an Aeon English teacher makes roughly 270k a month along with subsidized rent.

Source: http://www.aeonet.com/about-aeon/salary-apartment-and-more/

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if there are some additional values than the relatively lower salary is acceptable otherwise the higher salary is preferred, fold me please, I’m just practice my English :grin:

3 and a half year later, here I am.

In retrospective, that amount is a get in Japan kind of salary. It’s not a good salary if you are a non junior developer but if there is no other offer on the table and you want to get here, jump in.

350 is what I would expect for a non-junior but starting position in Japan. If you know how to code and can handle things yourself, 350 should be a base (although you probably can get more).

Thanks for the update. Have you stayed with the company over the entire 3.5 years?

I’m in a similar situation of being offered a low salary. Discussing with other foreign workers of other companies, I was often told it is a standard, but definitely low salary and I could find better if I look around. However, not everyone has the convenience to spend time doing that and the company has the control knowing you need the visa in the end.

I’m half a year into my current company and as a junior developer, am in a great company. I receive a lot of feedback and have senior developers (foreign and Japanese) to seek advice from, but the low salary is slightly crippling and is not very optimal for an international who has responsibilities to visit family abroad. I think the main problem is that my company has many internationals, but the management is all Japanese, so the foundation is still rooted in that system.

So I am now looking to move to higher paying prospects in about a years time. For other looking, I think the best option is to interview/contact with as many companies as you can to not limit yourself to one because that gives them all the power over you.