Shiseido to offer lifetime employment in junior year

From this spring, the guarantee of a job for life will be granted one year before students seeking to join cosmetics giant Shiseido Co. graduate from college, a policy that is expected to be copied at other firms.The firm announced Jan. 31 that it plans to interview in March college juniors who are expected to graduate in March 1998 and who are seeking employment at the firm. It will then informally tell the successful applicants in April that they are hired for life.A Shiseido spokesman said the company plans to recruit college graduates “at early dates,” prompted by a recent decision by business groups to abolish an employee-hiring agreement with universities that the company said is expected to intensify employment competition among corporations.The decades-old agreement was intended to ensure that students concentrate on studies, rather than job-seeking, until their graduating year. In some cases in the 1960s, businesses competing for the best students offered jobs as early as students’ sophomore year.Under the version of the accord that was abolished, companies were only able to interview college students after July 1, and to inform them of their decision to hire them on or after Oct. 1, with those hired taking up the positions the following April.The accord was abolished as many firms have effectively ignored it and secretly recruited students earlier.