Hire any grads, not just fresh ones, firms told

Kyodo News

Education minister Yoshiaki Takaki urged business leaders Monday to treat all job applicants who have graduated from college or high school within the last three years as new graduates to improve their chances of employment.

The request was made in separate meetings with Tadashi Okamura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).

Takaki also called on them to push back recruiting of new graduates, a tradition that prompts college seniors to start job hunting as early as a year or more before graduation.

“We shared the view that we should allow students to concentrate on schoolwork while seeking jobs,” Takaki said.

Okamura said utmost efforts would be made to meet the request.

In the stimulus package unveiled last month, the government emphasized efforts to improve the employment environment — especially for young people — and said it would offer financial incentives for companies who hire people who graduated within the past three years.

It is a common practice for firms to offer jobs to impending graduates and hire them all in one batch in April immediately after graduation. This makes it difficult for people to find work once they leave school.

Among those who graduated in March, the employment rate stood at 91.8 percent, the second-worst level ever, while 75,000 people failing to find jobs after graduating from colleges and high schools at the end of the academic year.