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The 2023 Gen X Leadership Report

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Insights from in-depth survey with fifty global brand leaders in Japan

In-depth survey of fifty C-suite global brand executives in Japan reveals cautious job market optimism underscored by readiness for career change, with clear expectations for potential employers in 2023.


We head into 2023 following three successive years of unprecedented business uncertainty and instability, thanks to a perfect storm of converging global factors including COVID, war, and hyper-inflation. With this backdrop in mind, we wanted to gain a glimpse into how business leaders at the helm of some of the world’s most prominent brand businesses in Japan are currently thinking and feeling when it comes to their priorities, motives, and preferences on career change, professional development, and work styles for the year ahead.

Gen X executives, or those born between 1965 and 1981, currently occupy the majority of leadership positions at global brands internationally (think Sundar Pichai, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk) as well as in Japan – thereby playing a pivotal role influencing and shaping workplace policies, expectations, and trends. We therefore embarked on a comprehensive survey of fifty Japan Gen X leaders spanning all C-suite positions, including CEOs and General Managers, as well as C-level executives across Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR, Operations, Strategy, and Technology. Survey participants come from career backgrounds with a wide variety of consumer-oriented industries and are all currently employed by some of the world’s best-known brands in Japan, with an average age range of 40 to 45 years old. The results are revealing, and offer a unique perspective into how the motivations and preferences of Gen X leaders are shaping ongoing workplace, employer, and employment trends, with valuable insights for any global company seeking to recruit or retain top Japan leadership talent in 2023.

Core survey insights include:

  • Almost 70% of global brand leaders we surveyed are feeling neutral-to-optimistic about the bilingual executive job market in Japan for the year ahead.

  • 88% of survey respondents who have not recently changed jobs say they will be open to considering a new role in 2023.

  • Limited future opportunities for learning and development cited as the leading reason for contemplating a job change.

  • Clear company mission, vision, and values and positive chemistry fit with the hiring team of critical importance for almost 100% of executives when weighing up potential employers.

  • 96% of leaders will only consider working with companies they see as having a positive and meaningful impact on people and society.

  • Working for a company that prioritizes work balance, flexibility, and wellbeing is significantly more important for leaders than getting a step-up in compensation.

  • Preferences for hybrid work look here to stay beyond the pandemic, with 98% of leaders favouring a maximum of 2-3 office days per week.

  • 74.8% of leaders feel they should have complete ownership for how they get their work done, while 62% nevertheless still believe in the importance of showing up in- person when necessary.

  • Slow moving interview processes and poor-quality feedback revealed as the leading causes of dissatisfaction for executives when they engage with prospective employers.

  • Revealed: The 7 categories of key questions executive candidates are most likely to ask in order to make up their minds about a prospective employer during an interview process.

To view the full insights report, click here.


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