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What Is The Average Salary in Japan in 2024?

The average salary in Japan is ¥4.58 million per year. But is this true for everyone? How do bonuses and other factors impact these salaries?

By 6 min read

Are you thinking about starting a new career in Japan? Understanding the country’s job market (and finding a better job) demands insight into industry trends. But your most important question is probably, what is the average salary in Japan?

Data from Japan’s National Tax Agency and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare suggest that, in 2024, the average salary in Japan is ¥4.58 million, approximately $29,589. However, the median is likely closer to ¥3.6 million, equivalent to $23,268.

But how do salaries differ across various sectors? Do factors like age or gender influence earnings?

Let’s dive into the specifics, from English teaching to IT and finance.

Average Annual Salary in Japan

Is your salary lower or higher than the national average?

Several factors influence actual incomes, including age and experience. If any of these salaries feel too low for you, that’s because they probably are. You should absolutely evaluate your skills and not let anyone lowball you.

Regardless, for a quick overview, let’s look at Japan’s average and median annual salaries across various industries, utilizing data from the National Tax Agency’s 2021 Private Sector Salary Statistics Survey and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Overview of Basic Wage Structure Survey for 2021.

Industry Average Annual Salary Median Annual Salary
Academic/ Education ¥5.44 million ¥3.81 million
Accommodation/ Food Service ¥2.68 million ¥2.16 million
Agriculture/ Forestry ¥3.37 million ¥2.57 million
Complex Service Business ¥5.06 million ¥3.41 million
Construction ¥5.29 million ¥3.98 million
Electricity/ Heat/ Water ¥7.47 million ¥5.16 million
Finance/ Insurance ¥6.56 million ¥4.3 million
Information/ Communication ¥6.32 million ¥4.39 million
Manufacturing ¥5.33 million ¥3.67 million
Medical/ Welfare ¥4.09 million ¥3.04 million
Real Estate ¥4.57 million ¥3.47 million
Service ¥3.77 million ¥3.22 million
Transportation ¥4.77 million ¥3.68 million
Wholesale/ Trade ¥3.84 million ¥2.85 million
Note that these figures are before tax.

Median Vs. Average Salary in Japan

The median annual salary is likely more accurate.

Most people calculate the “average salary” by adding all the salaries in a group and dividing by the number of people. For example, if five people earn ¥2m, ¥3m, ¥4m, ¥5m, and ¥6m, the average would be ¥4m.

The average gives us a quick snapshot of what’s typical in a group. It considers all salaries equally. However, the average can be easily skewed by extremes. For example, if a CEO earning millions joins our group of five, the average would shoot up, even though most people earn much less.

Recruitment companies and job sites may highlight higher salaries using average figures. However, it’s important to note that these averages can be influenced by outliers, particularly those from the higher end. For a clearer picture of salary expectations, consider factors like the median, salary range, experience level and region. 

The median is the middle value when all salaries are arranged from lowest to highest. In the example above, the median salary would be ¥4m. It represents the “middle ground” of salaries, making it realistic of what’s typical for most people. Thus, the median is generally more accurate. If you’re looking for a recruiter or English teaching job, it makes more sense to compare your salary to that of other recruiters and English teachers—not the company’s CEO.

Average Salary By Age in Japan

Get that money, Kenji.

Many Japanese companies have a traditional seniority-based pay system, in which employees are compensated based on their years of service rather than their individual performance or qualifications. As employees age and accumulate more experience within the company, they typically receive salary increases and bonuses, leading to higher annual incomes. This system often results in older employees earning higher salaries than younger colleagues. 

However, you’ll notice the salary decreases around retirement. As employees approach retirement age, their salaries may decrease to offset the costs of providing retirement benefits, or employees may accept lower wages if their pension alone isn’t sufficient to support them.

Age Annual Salary (Median) Male Female
20-24 years old ¥2.34 million ¥2.5 million ¥2.18 million
25-29 years old ¥3.35 million ¥3.61 million ¥3.0 million
30-34 years old ¥3.66 million ¥4.17 million ¥2.91 million
35-39 years old ¥3.97 million ¥4.72 million ¥2.86 million
40-44 years old ¥4.22 million ¥5.18 million ¥2.88 million
45-49 years old ¥4.48 million ¥5.53 million ¥2.98 million
50-54 years old ¥4.62 million ¥5.88 million ¥2.92 million
55-59 years old ¥4.7 million ¥6.04 million ¥2.83 million
60-64 years old ¥3.79 million ¥4.89 million ¥2.3 million
65-69 years old ¥2.94 million ¥3.68 million ¥1.95 million
Over 70 years old ¥2.56 million ¥3.16 million ¥1.81 million

Gender Pay Gaps in Japan

You’ll also notice gender gaps. Women in Japan often face challenges such as occupational segregation, limited career advancement opportunities and traditional gender roles that prioritize family responsibilities over career advancement. 

Likewise, Japan’s work culture has traditionally stressed long working hours and dedication to the job, particularly for men. This can result in higher salaries for male employees willing to commit significant time and effort to their careers. Thus, women may face challenges balancing work and family responsibilities, impacting their earning potential.

How Bonuses Affect Salary in Japan

Bonuses are not guaranteed.

In Japan, companies often give out bonuses twice yearly, called the 13th and 14th month pay. These bonuses usually come around in the summer and winter. Unfortunately, they aren’t always guaranteed or even fixed amounts. Instead, they depend on how well the company is doing financially, how you and your team are performing, what industry you’re in, and the type of work you do. For example, if the sales team doesn’t meet their target, it might mean a substantially lower bonus amount.

According to a 2016 survey by The Japanese Ministry of Labor, the nationwide average annual salary bonus in Japan was ¥671,800 ($4,327). The median was ¥576,000 ($3,698).

 Here are the top 15 jobs with the highest bonuses in Japan:

Industry Average
Professor at University ¥2,805,900
Pilot ¥2,195,500
Assistant Professor ¥2,103,900
Real Estate Appraiser ¥1,725,300
Lawyer ¥1,696,200
Journalist ¥1,595,200
High School Teacher ¥1,555,400
College and University Lecturer ¥1,418,700
Scientific Researcher ¥1,412,500
Public Accountant ¥1,390,400
Train conductor ¥1,300,500
Stewardess/Steward ¥1,203,600
First-grade Architect ¥1,203,600
Professional Engineer ¥1,136,500
Chemical Analyst ¥1,042,600

Annual bonuses aren’t typically part of the package for English teachers and ALTs. However, a bonus might be given upon completion of your contract, usually equivalent to one month’s pay.

What’s The Average English Teacher’s Salary in Japan?

On the bright side, there’s ample downtime for learning Japanese.
  • The average annual salary for English conversation teachers is ¥3.39 million.
  • English teaching salaries tend to be low compared to national averages.
  • Average monthly salary¥280,000; starting salary: ¥260,000.
  • Part-time: ¥1,240/hour; temporary: ¥1,460/hour.
  • Fresh graduates start around ¥200,000/month.
  • Consider higher education, private school, or freelance work for higher earning aspirations.

If you’re working in an eikawa (English language school) or as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) and wondering why your salary falls short of the median in the education industry, I feel you. Teacher salaries, in general, are not good, but English teaching salaries are below the national average.

On average, English conversation teachers earn around ¥3.39 million annually. The typical monthly salary is ¥280,000, with starting salaries averaging ¥260,000. Part-time and temporary employees earn an average hourly wage of ¥1,240 and ¥1,460, respectively. Fresh graduates can expect around ¥200,000 per month.

While many individuals may not view English teaching as a long-term career, if you’re passionate about and aspire to earn a higher salary, you should consider higher education, working directly at private schools or even freelance.

Best of luck, job seekers!

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