The optimal human resource and skill development strategy is one important factor of economic success. This paper, therefore, analyzes industry-specific differences in the training provision between engineering and retailing companies in Japan and focuses in particular on the initial training provision for intermediate skills at the firm level. Based on 11 in-depth interviews in the retailing and the engineering sector in Japan, we find that gross training costs per basic trainee are significantly higher in engineering than in retailing. However, not only the engineering companies, but also their employees bear higher costs than their counterparts in retailing. The absolute and relative entrance wages for production employees are significantly lower than the entrance wages of employees in sale. Even though wages in engineering increase significantly stronger within the first five years, the absolute and relative wages in engineering remain still significantly lower. The results relate to the qualification levels of new trainees and the career paths.