Gregory Thomas Ng
Reason for Coming to Japan
My name is Gregory Thomas Ng from Upper Hutt, New Zealand and I have been in Japan for over 8 years.
I came here as my high school dream was to eventually work one day in Japan in a Japanese company, I was always fascinated by the working culture and the deep traditions and cultural facets that still influence work society even to this day.
I love Tokyo due to its diverse culture and interesting people who have come from all over Japan and the world to call this place home. Each area, station and location has its own quirks and vibes and I am looking forward to seeing Tokyo develop more and more as it internationalizes further into the coming years.
Despite having a strong passion and dream to come to Japan as soon as possible, I took a very interesting pathway to come to Japan that actually started with me giving up on the dream.
After graduating from a leading private University in New Zealand I came to Japan on a 3 month exchange to one our Universities sister business colleges in Tokyo. Due to my youth, inexperience in the big city and coming off graduation ceremony (A Job waiting back in New Zealand) I didn't really cope or deal with the pressures of studying in a full Japanese immerse environment.
Struggling to communicate with my classmates, teachers, class content it and not to mention a difficult homestay experience it a challenging time and showed me the harsher reality of the skills and talent needed to succeed in this country. I became a bit delusional being caught up in the big smoke here and not adjusting to life in Japan and I told my self I never wanted to work in Japan again as I got on the plan to come back home.
After working in New Zealand for 1 year, by chance I ended up in Thailand where I stayed for 2 years mostly in a small town called Si Racha, near Pattaya. Little did I know, Thailand has the 2nd largest Japanese expat community (next to China) and my hometown was the second largest Japanese community in Thailand. After joining a local Brazilian Jiu Jitsu circle mostly run by Japanese expats (local and overseas), my interest in the country and language peaked again and in 2013 I decided to come back to Japan.
I took on the challenge to go back to a Tokyo Japanese language school and improve my Japanese. Being a bit more mature, focused and driven I was able to get N2 and with much support from my class mates, teachers and going to many company recruiting events and Hello Work I started to work in a small sized 25 person cell phone accessories E-commerce & trading company.
After a great 4-5 months things took a bit of a tougher time, firstly with my hiring manager leaving, salary cut and tougher working conditions then I expected I fought through the best I could trying to improve on the situation I was in. About 2 years into the career where the company position and situation was stabilized a chance conversation by the president of a leading recruiting firm here in Tokyo lead me to the pathway of the Executive Search world and recruiting where I have been here for the last 3.5 years.
Starting a career in recruiting
I took on the challenge of joining my current company due to the opportunity of being able to lead and start up a new company division, little did I realize the challenges that awaited me in the fascinating world of Tokyo recruitment.
Not only I was starting up a new business division for the company where they were a leading firm in other industries but not this one, I was also faced with a limited candidate pool, internal knowledge and also active clients to work with. After many steep and dark learning curves, I was able to slowly get the hang of things call by call, candidate by candidate and client by client.
The division has now grown to a respectable size and capabilities with many successes across clients on both multinational & local Japanese companies. My team was also able to complete a major retained search at a top 40 Fortune ranked company.
I am now also heavily involved in the development and improvement of the companies recruiting practices, developing the training program and mentoring younger recruiters in our team to be successful in their careers.
Taking a unique career pathway to get to Japan and by learning the ins and outs of the Tokyo recruiting industry, I would like to share these experiences with you to help you on your journey within the great city Tokyo that we call home! Feel free to reach out to me anytime!
Gregory Thomas Ng
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