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Pivot and Grow Your Career in Japan at ZenMarket

This diverse company in Osaka is seeking globally minded professionals to join its team.

By 6 min read

Looking to make a career shift to an organization with diverse teams, a startup vibe and professional growth opportunities? ZenMarket may be the perfect place for you.

Located in Osaka, ZenMarket connects Japan and the rest of the world by providing a marketplace for Japanese products in over 14 languages on their ZenMarket proxy buying platform.

The company was founded in April 2014 by foreigners who had studied together in Japan and saw an opportunity to meet demands for high-quality Japanese goods sought after by consumers abroad. Motivated by this opportunity to spread “Cool Japan” and help people from overseas buy anything from local vendors, they started the company from a one-bedroom apartment.

Fast forward to today, and ZenMarket has surpassed 1.4 million users across six continents and is growing. To meet demand, the company has also expanded its talent base from 50 employees in its head office to over 100 in 2021 alone, representing 27 nationalities.

ZenMarket is looking for talent

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Zen Market currently has native speakers of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Malaysian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

ZenMarket is aiming to fill 50 positions by summer 2022. In particular, they seek digital marketers and online customer support staff who are native in a needed language and have a strong understanding of local Japanese culture.

Currently, they have native speakers of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Malaysian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. Their strongest demands are for more Chinese, English and native Polish speakers. The company is also open to hiring more people fluent in other languages.

ZenMarket does offer visa sponsorship to applicants overseas; at the moment, however, they are actively seeking candidates currently located in Japan due to the pandemic. The Japanese language requirement depends on the position, with some positions available for those with a JLPT N4 level.

Corporate culture & benefits at ZenMarket

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Charles Yoshimura, Zen Market recruiting team leader.

If you love a fast-paced environment, look no further. The corporate culture at ZenMarket is full of proactive employees, especially when it comes to problem solving. With the average age of employees being 30 years old, the company feels modern and values top-to-bottom diversity.

“We are pretty fun-loving; we had a foosball tournament back in December. We have a ping pong table in our break room. Some people like to play chess. We have a bright office with a ton of plants. It’s a joyous feeling in the office. We enjoy work and feel we have a sense of purpose. People who come to this company come because they want to do the work. We have an active stance towards what we aim to do,” says the recruiting team leader, Charles Yoshimura.

A benefit of working at ZenMarket is that it has a startup vibe. Yet, the company is at a stage where they have solidified their organizational structure into teams with defined roles and a career path. Thus, you have the opportunity to advance based on your merit, depending on what positions are available at the time. It’s not like working at other Japanese companies where you move around according to your time in the company.

“You have the opportunity to advance based on your own merit and according to what positions are available at the time…”

“There are a lot of opportunities for growth and lateral moves as well. One employee, for example, came in as a part-time customer support representative and decided to switch to being a marketer, and now she is a division leader,” Yoshimura notes.

Another element that sets ZenMarket apart from other Japanese companies is its paid time off (PTO) structure. While most Japanese companies offer 10 paid vacation days in addition to 16 paid Japanese public holidays, ZenMarket offers 22 paid vacation days and four Japanese public holidays, which they are able to offer since the company counts Japanese public holidays as regular work days.

As an international company, they recognize that employees may need more flexibility when visiting home overseas; before the pandemic when quarantine and border restrictions was not an issue, it was common for people at all levels of the company to take over a week off to visit home. As a compromise, you may choose to work on Japanese public holidays to fix your schedule. The company is also serious about maternity and paternity leave systems. The aim is to be as flexible as possible and mindful of employees’ work-life balance.

Is ZenMarket right for you?

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Zen Market’s Osaka office has an active, startup vibe.

When asking ZenMarket employees about the benefits of working at the company, everyone unanimously agreed that the international environment provides a sense of inspiration and comfort in Japan’s backdrop.

“Working at ZenMarket provided me the opportunity to develop professionally within Japan without compromising a positive workplace experience. Having my work related to Japanese products and promoting brands that helped push me towards a life in Japan is extremely satisfying,” shared Nicholas Lloyd, an English marketing manager. “I have made some of the most amazing friends just within a short amount of time, which to me is almost impossible to think of while working an office job in Japan. There are many company events, and we can create our own clubs within the company, which makes it easy to connect with people from different departments,” says Asma’ Azzakirah Binti Mohd Fauzi, on the Malay marketing team.

While it’s helpful to have basic Japanese language skills, it’s not a requirement—especially if you can provide value in your native language. At the same time, you might find the environment inspirational towards developing your Japanese skills, as customer support staff member Rory Bennett shares.

“I was absolutely blown away by the caliber of Japanese spoken by the other foreign employees. The company provided me with challenging work and colleagues who gave me a target to aspire toward. In just over a year since I joined ZenMarket, I have passed [the JLPT] N1 and Level 6 and Level 5 of the kanji kentei (Japan Kanji Aptitude Test)!

“Also, it’s refreshing to work somewhere with such a low average age. When your supervisor is only a few years older than you and the department head is only a few years older than them, it not only gives you the feeling that ‘here is someone who is capable of thinking and understanding the same way I do,’ but it lets you feel like, ‘Hey, that could be me before not too long,’ which is indeed a rare feeling to get in Japan in most cases.”

ZenMarket makes the career move easy

ZenMarket is mindful that the pandemic has impacted peoples’ career paths. So there is no need to worry if you’ve made a handful of job shifts over the past couple of years. Instead, just bring your passion for problem-solving, your interest in taking the initiative and your openness to contribute to an international community.

While you do have to be physically based in Osaka, the company offers a stipend to help people relocate from other parts of Japan.

Whether you’re looking to advance your career in marketing or customer support, or you’re seeking new opportunities at a diverse company, ZenMarket offers you the chance to take that leap and make meaningful connections.

Learn more about ZenMarket and its available positions on the GaijinPot Jobs site.

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