Types of Jobs in Japan for New Graduates - What are Sougoushoku (総合職), Ippanshoku(一般職), and R&D?

August 18, 2021 1 min read

There are two main positions in the company: general position (sogoshoku) and clerical position (ippanshoku). There is also the division called Research and Development (R&D). In this article, we will look at the differences between the two positions as well as explain what R&D is.

General position (総合職, sōgōshoku)

General position is a core position within the company as they are expected to be the future managers and executives of the company. Therefore, people in general positions experience a wide variety of duties in order to have in-depth knowledge of each position in the company. In short, these positions do not have a fixed scope of work.

General positions can be broadly divided into 2 categories: administrative general positions (事務系総合職) and technical general positions (技術系総合職).

Departments related to administrative general position(事務系総合職):

Administrative departments (管理系部門):

• Human resources
• General affairs
• Accounting

Planning departments (企画部門)

• Marketing departments (マーケティング部門)
• Sales departments (営業部門)
• Accounting

In departments related to administrative general positions, there are mostly humanities based majors (文系).

Departments related to technical general positions (技術系総合職):

Product and service related departments
• Research
• Development
• Design
• Production and quality control

In departments related to technical general positions, there are mostly science based majors (理系).

Clerical position (一般職, ippanshoku)

Clerical position is the most basic type of office work. These positions mainly focus on duties to do with supporting.

Duties include:
• Entering data on computer
• Preparing, processing, and organizing documents for internal and external use
• Sorting and sending mail
• Answering the telephone
• Dealing with visitors

These positions are popular because they require no special qualifications or skills. However, because of its popularity, this means that competition for occupations under this position is fierce.

R&D (研究開発, kenkyūkaihatsu)

R&D stands for “Research and Development”. In order to increase the company’s competitiveness, R&D focuses on duties such as researching into the company’s business area as well as the research and development of new and necessary technologies. In recent years, collaboration with universities and public institutions has become widespread.

There are 3 main areas of R&D:

Basic research
• Purpose: build up technology as an intellectual asset.
• Focuses only on areas where future business returns are expected.

Applied research
• Purpose: determine the potential of a specific target or explore new applications for a method that is already in use.
• Uses the knowledge discovered through basic research to develop specific products.

Development research
• Purpose: improve existing products by introducing new materials, equipment, systems and processes.
• Combines several technologies developed in basic and applied research to develop new ones.

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