‘Abenomics’ doing little to boost hiring plans for fiscal 2014: survey

Kyodo

Nearly 60 percent of the nation’s top companies plan to hire the same number of university graduates or more in spring 2014, the results of a survey released Sunday said.

The survey said that while the economic rhetoric of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has had a big impact on the stock market, there’s been little impact so far on hiring plans beyond fiscal 2013.

Of the 108 companies surveyed, 46 (43 percent) said they will hire new recruits in fiscal 2014 nearly “at the same level” as the year before.

Of the remainder, 19 (18 percent) said they plan to increase hiring and 20 (19 percent) said they would reduce hiring. The other 23 (21 percent) said they hadn’t yet set their recruitment plans for fiscal 2014, the survey said.

The survey was conducted by Kyodo News from late February through mid-March.

Abe’s economic rhetoric, dubbed “Abenomics,” touts aggressive monetary easing and a tsunami of fiscal spending aimed at temporarily charging the economy in a bid to end nearly two decades of deflation. But no significant legislative action toward that end has taken place since he took office in late December.

Asked whether the verbally weakened yen and rising stocks have influenced their hiring plans, 93 companies (86 percent) said there was “no change.” Some service-related companies said they had “not yet felt the impact” of such “policies.”

According to the survey, 35 companies (32 percent), viewed the state of their domestic operations as a key factor in hiring plans, while 22 companies (20 percent), said they are basing hiring on their expected performance outlooks.

Among the respondents, Fast Retailing Co., owner of the Uniqlo clothing store chain, said it was eager to increase hiring and plans to take on 620 new hires in fiscal 2014, compared with 480 in fiscal 2013, the survey said.

Meanwhile, six major auto industry firms, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., saw export earnings improve but are either set to hire the same number of people as in fiscal 2013 or remain undecided.

Asked about their criteria for selecting new employees, with multiple responses allowed, 66 companies (61 percent), said communication skills featured heavily, followed by 52 companies (48 percent) that valued the ability to take action.

None of the companies mentioned students’ grades in responding to the question.