Career path and salary

In recruitment, you have largely 3 career paths that you can take: agency-side, in-house side, and other sales-role.

Career path #1: continuing with agency-side

One of the most popular paths for a recruitment consultant is continuing on with the agency-side recruitment, climbing the ladder in the organization. The promotional step generally goes as follows (titles may be different based on the company, but the function should be the same):

  1. Resourcer: you will likely join as a Resourcer where you focus on candidate generation. In this path, you will be expected to learn about recruitment, your focus industry, and shadow more senior recruiters to understand the job better. You will speak with numerous candidates and become an expert in sourcing candidates through multiple channels, such as internal databases, LinkedIn, events, etc. Most get promoted from this position in 4-7 months.
  2. Associate Consultant/Consultant/Senior Consultant: Once you have learned how to interact with candidates and source talents, you will be promoted to Associate Consultant. This is where you become an actual recruiter. You will manage both clients and candidates, doing all the work you did as a Resourcer (sourcing candidate) while also meeting clients and doing business development to further expand your client list. You will be promoted based on your performance to Consultant and then to Senior Consultant. The content of your job doesn’t change too much between Associate Consultant, Consultant, and Senior Consultant.
  3. Manager/ Managing Consultant (Principal Consultant): Once you get promoted from Senior Consultant, you will have two options. You can become a manager and lead a team, focusing on not only your individual performance as a recruiter but making sure your team of recruiters will be performing well and making a good commission. If management is not something you enjoy, you can continue to do only recruitment without the managerial responsibilities, working as a Managing Consultant (Principal Consultant)
  4. Associate Director and above: from this point forward you are part of the upper-management and often have a stake in the performance of the company. While many directors do still recruit, many focus more on business development and management of the team.

Career path #2: going into in-house recruitment

Another option you have is to go into in-house recruitment after 3-4 years working in agency-side recruitment. The skills you learn as an agency-side recruiter is highly sought after in in-house recruitment as well. So in case you are confused as to what in-house recruitment is, it essentially is doing recruitment for one company, such as working as a Talent Acquisition or Recruiter for a company like Amazon. Once you do decide to go into this route, you can continue doing recruitment or venture more toward doing Human Resource or Onboarding related duties. The end goal for you would be to become Head of Human Resources or Head of Talent Acquisition or top management in other related HR/Recruitment function.

Career path #2: going into in-house recruitment

Another popular option for recruiters is to move away from doing recruitment and go into other sales-related role. The skills you learn as a recruiter is essentially sales and business development skills. You will see recruiters who moved onto doing Sales or Business Development for companies like Microsoft, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc, still doing sales, but not recruitment.

So what’s the average pay of an entry-level recruiter?

The salary will depend largely on which company you work for, but we can try to generalize the average salary based on the company size. As a general rule, larger recruitment agencies pay a higher base salary but a lower bonus/commission fees. At smaller/medium-sized agencies the base may be lower, but bonus/commission will be higher.

Entry-level Salary at a large recruitment agency

  • Base: your base will start as usually 3.2-3.5M JPY per year as a Resourcer. Once you get promoted to Associate Consultant, your base will be roughly 3.5 – 4.3M JPY
  • Bonus: bonus will be roughly 10-15% of your placement fee.

Entry-level Salary at a small/medium-sized recruitment agency

  • Base: your base will start at usually 3 .0 – 3.5M JPY per year as a Resourcer. Once you get promoted to Associate Consultant, your base will roughly be 3.2 – 4M JPY
  • Bonus: bonus will be roughly 30-40% of your placement fee.