In a bid to grow their businesses and plug talent shortages, regional small and midsize companies are increasingly trying to poach managers and other senior staff from big firms in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.

At a briefing in Tokyo in late March by the Hiroshima Prefectural Government to help companies based in the prefecture to lure professionals from big firms, President Kiyoshi Yamana of tofu manufacturer Yamami Co. urged the roughly 50 participants to join the firm and help realize its dream of becoming a leader in the industry.

"We will work out a salary comparable to your current level," Yamana said, noting that workers at big companies usually see the move to smaller firms is accompanied by a pay cut.