• Human Capital Consulting Recruiting


HCCR’s Enoshima CSR

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Tokyo, July 27th, 2018 – Much is said about the cleanliness of Tokyo – very rarely will you see litter in our crowded metropolis. Despite Tokyo being one of the world’s cleanest cities, the city’s surroundings beaches are in need of some TLC. For our inaugural CSR event, our team decided that as many of us spend our weekends down at the beach we should do our small part in repaying mother nature.

Upon arriving at Enoshima Beach, our team was greeted by surfers in the lineup (tough life for some…), a blazing sun and for those who forgot to bring sandals, blister-inducing hot sand!!

Armed with disposable garbage bags, metal tongs and traditional white “bullet-proof woolen” gloves the team spent the morning picking up litter along the 1km long beach. We quickly realized that a large proportion of the litter was not the doings of Tokyoites but was mostly made up of washed-up articles – fishing lines, boating equipment and the occasional rubber boot. This litter poses a real threat to the aquatic life and as a typhoon was due to hit the following day, most of this would have ended back in the sea. Good timing on our part!

After disposing of the litter in the pre-determined location, we enjoyed a nice cold brew as we strolled along the beach towards a local bar – where we were greeted by more beverages and a flaming BBQ. Over the next few hours, we drank, ate more meat and seafood than you could poke a stick at, lobbied to relocate our office to Enoshima and drank some more. We then ventured to another nearby drinking hole where we, yep – you guessed it, drank some more and watched the sunset over Mount Fuji – an awesome way to finish a day at the beach.

Taking a day off work and doing our little bit to clean-up our surrounding environment was a meaningful experience and the HCCR team is looking forward to continuing similar focused CSR activities in the future.

Tokyo’s leading Automotive and Technology Executive Search Firm shifts into high gear

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Tokyo, May 21st, 2018 – On the eve of the upcoming Japan Automotive Engineering Expo, HCCR K.K., a leading Tokyo-based specialist Executive Search firm, announced today the strategic addition of 5 expert consultants to compliment their existing team and core areas of focus, namely the Automotive and associated Technology markets, such as AI, machine learning, embedded systems, wireless and cloud solutions.

Joining the team in Tokyo are Kazushi Nakazato, Tsutomu Nagasawa, Leonard Anderson, Taichiro Ishida, and Rey Ladrillono. Each of the new members possesses over ten years of Executive Search experience in their respective markets.

“HCCR is proud to announce and welcome our 5 new members into our team. Being able to bring 60 plus years of Automotive and Tech recruiting experience in-house is a coup and will enable us to more strategically and extensively support our client’s talent acquisition needs. Events such as the Japan Automotive Engineering Expo continue to attract record numbers of attendees and illustrate the growing convergence between Automotive and Technology markets” said Casey Abel, Managing Director.

Kazushi Nakazato started his career as a Materials Engineer focused on powertrain-related materials before becoming one of Tokyo’s most renowned specialist recruitment consultants. He brings over 16 years of hands-on recruitment expertise in automotive, general industrial and IT markets.

Tsutomu Nagasawa brings over 25 years of cumulative experience in automotive engineering, Executive Search, and technical recruitment. Having started his career as an Automotive Engineer he subsequently progressed to a career as a recruitment consultant covering automotive and general manufacturing industries.

Leonard Anderson is a well-known figure in the Japan semiconductor market having recruited in this sector for the past 14 years. He possesses a solid track record in successfully delivering high-impact searches for regional leadership roles in Japan and the APAC region, whilst also delivering niche technical talent solutions across a variety of domains.

Taichiro Ishida has been delivering talent solutions within the Japan market for the past 10 years and possesses deep knowledge of the Japanese Manufacturing sector. Ishida will be playing a key role in HCCR’s expansion of their Managed Talent Solutions, part of HCCR’s growing Talent Solutions portfolio.

Rey Ladrillono brings with him 12 years of recruitment experience in automotive and industrial markets supporting foreign multinational companies operating in Japan to identify and attract Senior Management and engineering talent for their regional operations.

“In these times of immense technical change across Automotive and associated Technical markets, both our Japanese and International clients face urgent needs to continue to recruit external talent for engineering, business development and corporate leadership roles. I am excited at the prospect of working alongside our new members in delivering our Talent Solutions portfolio to our clients” said Masumi Hamano, Executive Consultant.

HCCR is deeply aware of the technological changes impacting a variety of industries from the introduction of connected, “smart” and autonomous technologies and looks to continue to position itself in the center of these convergences.

“We are excited to continue building on our differentiated platform of high-touch, research centric Talent Solutions for our clients in Japan. The addition of our 5 new members now brings our Tokyo team to 15 consultants. Since day one we’ve made a conscious effort to focus on hiring the very best consultants available in the market – experts possessing specific industry knowledge, along with deep networks and consulting experience. 2018 is already shaping up to be a record-breaking year for HCCR” said Sean Travers, Managing Director.

HCCR’s Tokyo team will be attending the Japan Automotive Engineering Expo scheduled to be held during the 23rd to 25th May 2018 at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall.

Golden Week Golf Shenanigans

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Tuesday 1st May – Chiba International Country Club

What initially started out as a leisurely round of golf, quickly escalated into a full-blown Ryder Cup-esque competition – pitting the US Team, Casey, and Michael, against the ANZACs (NZ & Aus) Team, Len, and Sean.

Its no secret of the love that the Anzac’s share for each other, but the coming together of a Cleveland Cavalier’s fan and an arch enemy, Golden State Worrier’s (typo…) fan was akin to the shredding of the iron curtain.

The US Team were touted as (self-proclaimed) favourites. Quicker than you could say “Golden State is winning…. let’s jump on the bandwagon” – Len birdied the 1st hole. The US team quickly came to the realization that the “Diggers” were here to play.

When not hitting the bejeezus out of the ball, Michael (aka Tokyo’s answer to Butch Harmon) put his coaching to good use – advising Casey on several critical shots….his impeccable timing also saw him imparting his pearls of putting wisdom to Len…..albeit mid-swing.

It was a see-sawing battle that was finally decided on the 17th hole, with Len “Nerves of Steel” Anderson sinking a 6-foot putt. The ANZAC’s were victorious.

Plans are already underway for our next Golf Challenge to be held in the coming months. Whilst the US Team is out for revenge, our Japanese consultants are also looking to represent and make the most of their home ground advantage.

Meanwhile, Management has already initiated discussions with our building admin to check the feasibility of installing a purpose-built indoor driving range……permits pending.

Last but not least, our internal hiring criteria have been adjusted – with a “slight” bias towards recruiters who shoot a sub-10 handicap.

Suitably qualified applicants please apply….c/o Team Anzacs.

Ski Trip – Yuzawa Onsen

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Friday 23rd – Yuzawa Onsen, Niigata Prefecture.

Inspired by the recent Winter Olympics the HCCR crew ventured out to Yuzawa Onsen for a well earned day on the slopes.

Within minutes of arriving in Yuzawa, the crew were making a beeline for the ski lifts. Whilst Yuzawa isn’t the most technically challenging run, it does offer spectacular views of the Japan Alps – it’s easy to forget that it’s only a 90-minute commute away from Tokyo.

After refuelling for lunch, the team hit the slopes for a few more hours before calling it a day and boarding the bullet train back to Tokyo.

Upon returning to Tokyo we wrapped up on the day’s festivities with a team dinner at Mucho’s Mexicano….sharing stories and pics of an epic day in the snow.

All in all, it was a refreshing break and just reward for our team’s great start to 2018.


2018 – Ringing in the New Year!!

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HCCR rang in the New Year on the 10th January. We started the morning off by holding our 2018 “kick-off” meeting followed by a team lunch in Roppongi Hills. Having already broken our NY resolutions of “eating healthier in 2018”  we trundled off on our annual “hatsumōde” pilgrimage to Meiji Jingu Shrine.

On the back of a Fantastic 2017, our team are looking forward to a record-breaking 2018. On behalf our HCCR, we would like to wish our valued clients and candidates a safe and successful 2018!

2017 End of Year Celebration

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December 15th marked Tokyo’s office annual “Bonenkai”. The evening began with our annual awards ceremony, followed by several pre-drinks “drinks”.

Dressed in our Xmas suits we ventured out into the cold chill – minus our winter coats – had to show off our “colours”. Naturally, as the night went on the chill quickly disappeared, along with our vocal chords –courtesy of an ill-chosen playlist of mostly 80’s tunes…

A great night was enjoyed by all and we are all eagerly anticipating this year’s event – if it’s half as epic as 2017’s event, we will be in for an absolute blockbuster!

HCCR’s Casey Abel interviewed by Bloomberg

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Toyota Steers Clear of Silicon Valley in Its Talent-Hunting Spree

By Jie Ma and Emi Nobuhiro

Updated on August 4, 2017, 8:55 AM GMT+9


  • Automaker raids Toshiba, NEC for top engineers, IT experts
  • Self-driving cars and AI require hard-to-find tech know-how


When it comes to recruiting tech talent, Toyota Motor Corp. is anything but subtle.

The Japanese automaker recently launched a marketing campaign targeting information technology specialists and software engineers along Tokyo’s suburban Nambu railway line, where the research centers of Japan’s signature tech giants are clustered.

“We want engineers from Nambu Line area more than from Silicon Valley,” declares one poster at Mukaigawara station, where one of the exits is designated exclusively for NEC Corp. employees.

Toyota’s talent raid is unusual in a country where lifetime employment is still the norm at many big companies. “It’s very unique for a Japanese company as well-known as Toyota to blatantly target specific talent markets or companies with direct advertising in regional locations like this,” said Casey Abel, Managing Director at recruiter HCCR K.K. based in Tokyo. “It says a lot when companies such as Toyota have to get this aggressive in order to attract the talents they need to navigate these markets.”

Such are the pressures bearing down on Toyota as it searches for global IT talent to power its expansion into autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.

Software Capabilities

“As cars become smarter, carmakers need strong software engineering capabilities to launch connectivity-based products,” said Zhou Lei, a Tokyo-based partner at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting. “They’re traditionally strong in mechanical engineering, but when it comes to connectivity and software, electronics makers, communications and mobile companies are a good fit to transfer their capabilities to automakers.”

Salaries have soared in Silicon Valley for automotive technology experts thanks to the emergence of Uber Technologies Inc. and Tesla Inc. as serious rivals. That’s why Toyota and Honda Motor Co. are looking for engineers at home, where average salaries for IT professionals are about 6 million yen ($54,500) a year, about half of what counterparts in the U.S earn, according to a survey by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan.

The technology belt along the Nambu line in Tokyo has yet to produce a world-class startup and some once-mighty names are in decline. Toshiba Corp., which has a research center in the area, is forecasting a loss of 995.2 billion yen for its last fiscal year and is selling its semiconductor business to cover multi-billion-dollar losses in its nuclear unit. Telecommunication and electronic device maker NEC reported the smallest annual operating profit in eight years.

‘Nambu All-Stars’

“They may have to settle for Nambu Line all-stars until they are able to really compete with real IT giants for market-moving talent,” said Abel. “I’m sure on a spot basis they can get people in Silicon Valley, but getting them is only half the battle as the competition is even more intense there,” he said. “Retention and ability to provide people with a chance for meaningful and interesting work is amplified much more when you have Apple, Google, flying car startups, Amazon and others all around you.”

Toyota, despite softer sales this year, remains the most profitable company in terms of operating profit in Japan. The carmaker is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings Friday. Operating profit is expected to decline 15 percent from a year earlier to 548.2 billion yen, according to the average of 6 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Part of the reason for the decline is the surge in R&D costs, which is forecast to rise 1.2 percent to 1.05 trillion yen this fiscal year, as the carmaker spends big on Internet connectivity and autonomous driving to keep up with Tesla, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. Toyota and Mazda Motor Corp. are nearing a deal to buy stakes in one another and jointly build a $1.6 billion U.S. factory, according to people familiar with the matter.

Japanese companies are playing catch-up with U.S. rivals when it comes to making inroads into the fields of IT. Ford established a science lab in Palo Alto in 2012 to develop software, while GM has built two data centers in Michigan since 2013 to streamline product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales as well as connectivity services.

Connected Cars

Toyota last year announced its connected-car strategy, which includes building a big data center in Plano, Texas to better understand how its customers drive the cars. The company also spent $1 billion in 2015 to form a research institute in the U.S. focused on artificial intelligence and robotics technology and hired former U.S. defense scientist Gill Pratt to lead it.

Since then, the institute has established research centers located quite close to four major U.S. universities: Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Michigan.

“This close co-location provides a natural mechanism for recruitment at universities and think-tanks where there’s a lot of talent,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America. “Plus we have a very good reputation, so that helps.”

Venture Fund

On top of that, Toyota last month started a $100 million venture fund, Toyota AI Ventures, to invest in start-ups. Many of the best minds want to have their own firms rather than be salaried employees so they can profit from their business when the technology takes off. The fund has already invested in a maker of cameras that monitor drivers and roads, a creator of autonomous car-mapping algorithms and a developer of robotic companions for the elderly.

“They didn’t have anyone who specializes in these fields, so they can’t internally groom those engineers,” said Koji Endo, an auto analyst at SBI Securities in Tokyo. “Toyota had been able to manage on its own in the past, but going forward, it will need to do it with someone else. Whether that is through collaboration, joint venture, or M&A remains to be seen.”

Japan is in the midst of one of the world’s most severe talent shortages, with IT professionals among the top three positions hardest to fill, according to Manpower Group’s annual market survey. Last year, the country was short of an estimated 171,000 IT staff and the gap may more than quadruple to 789,000 by 2030, according to the METI survey.

Nissan said last October it plans to hire about 150 engineers in Tokyo by 2018 for software, cloud computing, data analytics and machine learning. Honda started operation last year of a Tokyo research center mainly for artificial intelligence and IT. Volkswagen AG said last year it will hire more than 1,000 IT experts, tapping high-technology sectors, gaming industry and top-level research centers, in the next three years.

“The demand for IT talents is growing exponentially,” said Deloitte’s Zhou. “Japan has many strong electronics makers and home appliance manufacturers, and a lot of their embedded software capabilities could be put into the infotainment systems in connected and autonomous cars.”

High-Tech Line

The Nambu Line has historically been a working-class conduit that moved people to and from factories in the Kawasaki area. Now, with a suburban sprawl spreading out from Tokyo, it’s gentrifying and becoming more of a place where people are looking to shop, live and work. On weekends, some take the line to the two horse racecourses and three cycling tracks along it for wagering.

It became known as the “high-tech line” partly thanks to the city of Kawasaki’s efforts to build an innovation hub in recent years, attracting a cluster of IT R&D centers. About 7.1 percent of the labor force in Kawasaki work in the IT industry, the highest proportion in Japan, according to the government of the city.

Toyota’s hiring posters caught the attention of engineers because of the enticing, straight-forward language, including one that says as blatantly as “Oh, you work at THAT manufacturer? Why don’t you come and join us?” The campaign also went viral on social media, with Twitter users arguing whether “THAT” manufacturer actually refers to NEC, Toshiba or others.

Toyota expects engineers from companies along Nambu Line to apply for jobs at the carmaker, said spokeswoman Kayo Doi, without giving more details.

“It’s very eye-catching and has an impact, and it’s quite a bold move to target a station right in front of other companies,” Junya Ashida, a 39-year-old engineer said of Toyota’s advertisements at Mukaigawara station. “But I doubt top-notch companies like Toyota really think they want talents from here more than from the Silicon Valley.”

— With assistance by Reed Stevenson, and John Lippert




HCCR rang in the New Year on the 10th January. We started the morning off by holding our 2018 “kick-off” meeting followed by a team lunch in Roppongi Hills. Having already broken our NY resolutions of “eating healthier in 2018”  we trundled off on our annual “hatsumōde” pilgrimage to Meiji Jingu Shrine.

On the back of a Fantastic 2017, our team are looking forward to a record-breaking 2018. On behalf our HCCR, we would like to wish our valued clients and candidates a safe and successful 2018!