Abolition of recruitment agreements between companies and new university graduates has helped ease the hectic job-hunting ritual, but class attendance is dropping as students take the hunt into their own hands, according to a survey released Thursday.

According to a survey of student recruitment activities released by a panel of academic and business representatives, a majority of schools polled said students this year began job hunting earlier than usual and for a longer period of time.

Nearly three out of four schools reported poor class attendance during the recruitment period, and more than two-thirds of 1,073 schools surveyed felt job-hunting activities negatively affected student performance.

“Companies need to further reconsider the current recruitment system of uniformly hiring new grads just by looking at school names, and look more into students’ abilities and what they studied,” said Misako Miyamoto, president of Japan Women’s College and head of the panel that compiled the survey.

An agreement among companies to start recruitment activities at the same time was abolished in January last year, and students’ job searches began about a month earlier this year as a result, the survey says.

Norihide Tanaka of the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations pointed out that many job applicants this year were not clear about their desired occupations, and tended to randomly apply to companies without regard to their fields.

The tendency worsened after the recruitment agreement was scrapped, and some students applied to as many as 40 companies, he said.

“Students need to begin thinking and learning about what they want to do in the future at earlier stages in their college years, so that they can do more focused job-hunting in a shorter amount of time, about six months before graduation,” he said.

In the survey, representatives of academic institutions said the Internet has made it easier for students to access recruitment information from companies.

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