CSRDA Discussion Paper Series

No. 67 Highly Skilled Foreign Engineer Innovation in Developed Countries: Evidence from Patent Data Analysis in Japan
Ayano Fujiwara
Ayano Fujiwara Japan University of Economics
Highly skilled foreign engineershiring migrantstalent mobilitypatent datainnovation
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGoal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Patent Data

In recent years, a labor shortage has become apparent mainly in developed countries due to the declining birthrate and aging population, the competition for excellent human resources has been accelerating, and talented and highly skilled human resources, who are responsible for innovation, commonly move across national borders. This paper used patent data to estimate the country of origin of high-level foreign human resources working in Japan's manufacturing industry, and their year of arrival, qualitative evaluation as inventors, and time in the industry were analyzed by country of origin, industry, and institutional affiliation. The country-of-origin analysis revealed that the number of foreign engineers working in Japan's manufacturing industry has generally been increasing. The inflow of engineers from developed countries, such as the U.S., Germany, France, and the U.K., has been declining since the 2000s, while the inflow from China and India has been increasing in recent years. In terms of performance, foreign engineers from Russia and China tended to have higher annual patent productivity, while the average score of personnel presumed to be from China, Iran, and Vietnam was higher in terms of qualitative evaluation as inventors. By industry, it is clear that in the ICT industry, unlike other industries, foreign engineers have higher average scores than Japanese engineers in terms of patent productivity and qualitative evaluation as inventors. The results indicate that innovation in the ICT industry is currently supported by foreign engineers in terms of both quality and quantity. An analysis of the attributes of the organizations to which the foreign engineers belonged showed that the quality evaluation of inventors was much higher and the duration of their stay in the industry was significantly longer when the first organization they joined was a university or a public research institute.