An estimated 1.05 million new hires attended the fiscal 2001 entrance ceremonies at companies and government agencies nationwide Monday.

As the traditional labor system — based on life-long employment and seniority-based pay — is eroding and information technology is rapidly developing, the recruits as well as the companies that hire them will face severe competition in the new century.

At a time of accelerating bankruptcies and mergers, the fresh hires will be expected to contribute immediately to improving business.

As of Feb. 1, 82.3 percent of university graduates and 66.8 percent of junior college graduates informally received job offers, according to a survey jointly conducted by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry. The figure was up slightly from the previous year, which was the worst on record. But the competition for jobs this year remained severe and it is believed that many graduates have not found work yet.

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