|President & Director
|Z. K. Jaszai,
Managemates International Group, Inc.
Z. K. Jaszai
|Managemates International Group is one of the
best examples of how being the first to provide a new, needed service in
Japan can assure business success. "In Japan," says Z.K. Jaszai,
President and founder of the group, "if you are known and recognized,
you get business. But if you are not, you can't get far." Jaszai also
emphasizes longevity, commitment, and being smart to be successful factors
in Japan, all of which are the basis of the strength of his operations.
Born and brought up in Hungary, Jaszai fled to the United States at the time of the anti-Soviet Hungarian uprising, graduated from an American university, and obtained American citizenship. He came to Japan 30 years ago and joined the Japan Times, Japan's leading English-language newspaper, covering political and economic news of the day and attending press conferences. It was as a newspaperman that he developed the idea of starting a recruitment business in Japan. "When new companies came to Japan, they held press conferences, which I attended. They were looking for bilingual Managers and staff for their operations but didn't know how to recruit, so they came to me and asked for advice. That's how my business got started," explains Jaszai.
The beginning, however, was not easy. Because the concept -changing job- was new at the time, Jaszai had to apply for a government license repeatedly over a three-year period before it was finally approved. With the establishment of the Helpmates International Group in 1968, becoming (Managemates in 1993), he became the first and only foreigner to offer "international" executive search and recruitment services.
" The real difficulty started after I set up the company because no Japanese wanted to change jobs in those days. We were lucky even if we could actually talk to just one out of 100 prospects. The life-time employment system was firmly established. Now it's much easier to talk to people, and one out of three is inclined to listen to us. However, to actually get them to use our services is still as difficult as in those days. People are still conservative, especially among those working for major corporations," The global economic uncertainty is hampering mobility also. says Jaszai.
Despite the initial difficulties,he had done his homework by understanding the needs of clients and the market, and business began to grow. In addition, as a foreigner doing business in Japan, he received wide exposure and credibility through the media, including NHK, the national television network. Gradually his client-base expanded, first among foreign capital companies, then to joint ventures, and finally to Japanese companies, to which Helpmates provided a skilled, bilingual staff. Currently, 45 percent of his clients are foreign-capital, 30 percent are Japanese, and joint ventures account for the rest. The company has so far placed 10,000 executives, managers, specialists, and management support staff, of which 85 percent are Japanese. Among 2,500 foreign companies which have come to Japan, half of their top management was placed by Helpmates, now Managemates. It has a large computerized data base registering about 30,000 bilingual Japanese and non-Japanese with Japanese market expertise. It also has access to about half of the 15,000 Japanese MBA holders registered in their computer data base. "We have helped those companies become 'Japanized'," says Jaszai, "and because most of our competitors are not even licensed, we don't feel any overt competition."
No End to Growth
Managemates International Group's total turnover has been averaging a 30 to 35 percent annual growth rate over the last five years. "The demand for capable people has been and will always be there. Even Japanese companies cannot find the kind of people they want anymore because they need to get their companies going after the slump, so they come to us for good people," says Jaszai. He believes that the period of change that we are living in, especially the changes in Western and Eastern Europe, will offer great opportunities for all. He is also cultivating contacts with countries of Eastern Europe, which many Japanese have a great interest in but do not know much about. "As I was born in Europe, educated in America, and am working in Japan, anybody from those areas can talk to me as if they were talking to someone from their own country," says Jaszai, "and that's part of the strength of my business. If you want to do business in Japan, you cannot just do as the Japanese do. I'm against the 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' axiom. To be successful and appreciated here, you must have strength and offer something different. You must be persistent, committed, and you've got to be very alert in your business."
This piece in part is excerpted from "The Challenge of the Japanese Market", a series of articles highlighted by JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization, of the Japanese Government.
|M. Katase, Director
|Ms. Katase is one of the founding members of
the Managemates International Group and has been instrumental in the establishment
and subsequent operations of the Executive Search and bilingual StaffSearch
over the past 2 decades. She is credited with meeting well over 10,000
bilingual Japanese and non-Japanese Executives, Managers, Specialists and
Staff, and assisting several thousand to be selected for career-opportunities
within International Corporations operating in Japan and the Far East.
Her prior experience includes administration duties in a top-5 Japanese Global Trading company and a multinational organization involved with customer Services. She is considered one of the leading professionals in the bilingual Search and Selection business with a corporate client base perhaps broader than anyone else's.
Ms. Katase's motto is to select the right candidate to growth positions "not over qualified, not under qualified; but the right-qualified!"
As a Management and Staff Selection professional she is very effective in helping the globalization of foreign capital companies in Japan as well as internationally oriented Japanese corporate entities.
Copyright(C)2003 Managemates International Group Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.