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Aiming for the top

In our second installment of a new series that gives insights into the minds and strategies of top business leaders, we speak with Masumi Minegishi, president of Recruit Holdings, one of Japan's foremost job matchmaking companies.

Amid globalization, the company is aiming to capitalize on a growing demand for talent from around the world. The aim is to become the No. 1 human resources provider by 2020.
We asked Minegishi about his strategy.

Last Thursday, Recruit Holdings went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in the year's biggest IPO in Japan. The company plans to use the funds it generated to expand overseas.

President Masumi Minegishi, the youngest person ever appointed as an executive officer by the company, has been diligently pursuing opportunities overseas. To his mind the measure of the company's performance comes down to how many people the clients decide to hire.

"We aim to become No. 1 by 2020 in terms of the number of people employed through our services around the world. The shortest route to the goal is to go public to acquire three things: diversity in financial strategy, transparency in management, and a global reputation for reliability."
Masumi Minegishi / President, Recruit Holdings

Recruit has enlarged its presence overseas through mergers and acquisitions. It now offers services in 16 countries and regions around the world. As Japanese companies expanded overseas they ran into the problem of securing qualified personnel. Recruit recognized this problem as a business opportunity.

On behalf of Japanese companies operating in Asia, Recruit staff visit a local university to enlist highly specialized candidates. They also set up seminars to explain the ins and outs of working for a Japanese firm.
Minegishi says his company takes advantage of its global network to reach across borders if necessary to find the right worker for the job.

"When a Japanese company makes inroads into Singapore and wants to hire, say, the best marketing person, we look first in Singapore. If that fails, we expand our search to ASEAN countries. If we still can't find anyone suitable, we'll look in Europe, America or India for someone for the client company to interview. I think it's increasingly necessary to cross national borders to provide the right person."

Recruit purchased an American IT company to expand its presence on the Internet. Recruit's online job search engine now covers more than 55 countries in 28 languages. Access to so many job seekers is a big advantage for Recruit in the eyes of clients.

"To give an example, if a global company in the fast-food industry, needs to find 350,000 part-timers to hire on a daily basis, our global IT platform would make it easy for them to list up suitable candidates. We acquire companies that have a global platform so that we can make use of those platforms."

However, expanding abroad means having to face more competitors. Rather than rely on one department for M&A deals, Minegishi says it's up to the leader of each department to find optimal partners.

"We try to create a situation where we always have a list of M&A candidates and we are always negotiating with them. Typical Japanese companies are sometimes passively waiting for M&A offers. But in our company each section head actively visits target companies and talks with them to see if their vision and strategy match ours. By doing so we can make decisions quickly. It's important to be ready at all times."

Can Recruit attract enough high-level international talent to itself? That may be the key to meeting the needs of clients and becoming the world's No. 1 staffing firm.

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