Grad hiring successes laid to job center consultants

Kyodo

Employment rates for March high school and university graduates have improved significantly, thanks largely to some 2,300 consultants at public-run job-placement centers nationwide, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

A labor ministry report released Friday said the employment rate for college graduates rose for the second straight year to 93.9 percent, while a separate report by a high school teachers union put the rate for high school graduates at a record-high 93.8 percent.

The brisk performance is due to enhanced use of “job supporters,” most of whom have gained experience in human resource management at private companies and are dispatched to public job placement agencies all over Japan. The government has increased the number of such job supporters since fiscal 2010, following the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse.

As a result, as many as 193,000 young job seekers found employment in fiscal 2012 with the help of job supporters, including 49,000 who had already graduated from college, the ministry said.

At a Hello Work job-placement center in Shinjuku Ward, 74 job supporters help job seekers with information on mainly small and medium-sized firms.

A 21-year-old senior at a private university who visited one of the public employment offices in mid-May said he failed 20 job interviews with major companies. “I got advice from an alumnus that I should visit a job-placement center if I’m thinking of working for a small or medium-sized company,” said the student. After receiving guidance on how to choose small and midsize companies at the Hello Work office, the student said the program was “really helpful.”

As for high school grads, the rate also hit an all-time high, according to a survey of 80,000 students by the Japan Senior High School Teachers Union.

However, results of a survey of school personnel revealed that students tend to seek employment at local companies but the number of job offerings is very small. The union members also said caregiver jobs have recently become more available, but that job offers in the manufacturing industry have fallen.

Shinichi Fujita, secretary general of the teacher union, said many students decided to apply for jobs they didn’t necessarily want, which may have pushed up the employment rate.