Uniqlo dangles $8.8m salaries to draw talent in Big Tech showdown

Nikkei -- Jan 16
The operator of the Uniqlo chain of casual apparel stores will pay midcareer hires up to 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) a year as competition heats up with Big Tech companies such as Amazon.com, Nikkei has learned.

Fast Retailing will increase the salary cap this year, said CEO Tadashi Yanai. More than Yanai's own pay of 400 million yen, the maximum amount will be among the highest in the nation.

Until now, the company did not have any clear compensation standards for midcareer hires. It hopes to attract talent well-versed in digitization, e-commerce and supply chains to change how it earns profits in the apparel business to better compete with tech titans.

"We are looking for people who can create new value and think about businesses from scratch, not consultants and those who worked at big corporations," Yanai said. "Geniuses who are more capable than me. If the pool is bountiful, we'll take 100 or even 200."

Fast Retailing had roughly 56,000 workers groupwide as of Aug. 31. Excluding staff at stores such as Uniqlo, its headquarters had about 1,600 employees, mostly midcareer hires. The average pay is about 9.6 million yen.