Senior Manager, Employee and Labor Relations

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST; see is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The university is located on 85 hectares of protected forestland overlooking beautiful shoreline and coral reefs. The campus is striking architecturally, and the facilities are outstanding (OIST campus video tour). There are no academic departments, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. Outstanding resources and equipment are provided and managed to encourage easy access and collaboration. English is the official language of the University, and the university research community is fully international, with more than 50 countries represented. OIST is rapidly gaining recognition in the worldwide academic community as a model for excellence in education and research.

This position requires an individual with significant employee and labor relations experience, deep subject matter knowledge, and strong communication/interpersonal skills that enables the individual to work successfully on a broad spectrum. The individual will report to the Vice President for Human Resource (HRVP) and partner with the General Counsel Office, Compliance, Faculty Affairs Office, Health Center as well as other departments within HR teams, to support entire OIST in creating and sustaining positive employee relations programs and best practices.

The central objective of OIST’s employee and labor relations is to ensure our organization’s treatment of employees is fair, respectful, and consistent with our framework of our core values and objectives.  To support that objective, this position’s responsibilities fall into proactive and reactive categories. The individual will work as a project manager on proactive programs that improve employee relations and will also work reactively on critical employee relations issues that are crisis-oriented and time sensitive. Balancing time between projects and crisis-response is a critical component for the success in this position.


1919-1 Tancha, Onna-son, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495


  • Provide supervision of staff in policy making, employee and labor management, employee conflict resolution, grievances, employee engagement, performance management, diversity & inclusion, investigations, and other employee relations matters etc.
  • Proactively reduce Employee Relations related risk through risk assessments and actionable feedback.
  • Analyze, diagnose, design, and revise employee policies, programs, and procedures to sustain a respectful, positive, safe, and healthy workplace for employees.
  • Design, collect and analyze multiple levels of employee feedback, including staff engagement survey, to ensure healthy work relationships and a supportive atmosphere
  • Design and conduct positive employee relations trainings for managers.
  • Work hands on with employee relations cases, such as harassment and other misconducts, conflict resolutions, disciplinary actions, performance management, policy interpretation and investigations.
  • Provide advice to supervisors throughout OIST on how to deal with employees, especially in extraordinary situations
  • Manage labor relations directly
  • Complete other HR activities as assigned and directed by VPHR
  • Manage budget within the section



  • Bachelor’s degree (Human Resources or Employment/Labor Laws preferred)
  • At least 15 years of experience in Human Resources with at least 5 years of managerial experience in Employee and Labor Relations role(s)
  • Demonstrated understanding of Japanese employment laws and labor regulations
  • Experience in policy development and implementation such as flexible work system, position management, evaluation, compensation, and benefits
  • Experience in conducting investigations for HR issues with proven ability to work with confidential information hands on
  • Experience in coaching senior leaders, managers, and HR professionals
  • Ability to build a trusting relationship and transparent environment
  • Capable of communicating difficult messages in a sensible and supportive manner.
  • Strong written and verbal business communication skills both in Japanese and English; high quality document preparation, presentation, facilitation skills
  • Experience working in an international setting with demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Strong interpersonal skills and exceptional listening skills to be able to partner effectively and influence at all levels


  • Social Security and Insurance Attorney License is an asset
  • Experience in working at a university or a research institution
  • Strong business acumen & analytical skills; understanding of metrics to support plans and monitor performance
  • Experience working with organizations handling unionized workforce

Report to 

Vice President for Human Resource

Starting Date 

As early as possible

Term & Working Hours 

Term: Full-time, fixed term appointment for 2 years. Contract initially with 3-month probationary period (inclusive). This contract may be renewed.

Working hours: 9:00-17:30 (Discretionary)

Compensation & Benefits 

In accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations

Relocation, housing and commuting allowances
Annual paid leave and summer holidays
Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid )
Welfare pension insurance (kousei-nenkin)
Worker's accident compensation insurance (roudousha-saigai-hoshou-hoken)

How To Apply 

Apply by uploading your submission documents HERE*.
*This is a secure file uploading system for handling confidential materials.

or apply by emailing your Submission Documents to:
(Please replace [at] with @ before using this email address)

or send by post to the following address:
HR Recruiting Section
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
1919-1, Onna, Onna-son, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan

Submission Documents 

  • Cover letter in both English and Japanese
  • Curriculum vitae in both English and Japanese
  • Names and contact information of 3 referees, one of which should be a previous employer

* Prior to the start of employment all new hires are required to successfully complete a background check. Personal information including employment history and academic background should be submitted to third-party administrators after a conditional offer of employment.

Application Due Date 

Applications deadline will continue until the position is filled. (Applications will be screened upon arrival)


  • OIST Graduate University is an equal opportunity educator and employer, and is working actively toward increasing the diversity of its faculty, students and staff. The University strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.
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