Job-hunting season kicks off for university students in Japan


Amid a lingering labor shortage at Japanese companies, the job-hunting season for university students due to graduate next spring began Tuesday, with company information sessions being held nationwide.

Experts said that as many companies are showing a willingness to hire, students will benefit from what is presently a seller’s market.

Government data released early Tuesday showed Japan’s job availability improved to 1.28 in January, hitting its highest level since December 1991 following December 2015 when the rate was 1.27.

In a rare move, domestic firms changed their recruiting schedule for the second consecutive year, by bringing forward the date for starting recruitment interviews with senior students to June from August.

Juniors, who will become seniors in April in the Japanese academic year, will likely have less time to prepare their job-hunting activities, compared with current seniors, due to the truncated period between company information sessions and interviews.

Last year, Japan’s most influential business lobby called on its about 1,300 member companies to delay the timing by four months from April amid criticism that traditional job-seeking activities starting in April had an impact on students’ academic lives.

But the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, had to change the schedule again as some companies, including nonmembers, started recruiting before August, prompting students to prepare early and resulting in a lengthy job-hunting period.

It did not change the March start of the explanation sessions or the timing of official job offers on Oct. 1.

There remain concerns that many companies will conduct interviews or request that students promise to commit to joining companies before June.

A number of students took part in the information sessions held nationwide.

“I want to get a job offer as early as possible. I think I can secure enough time for my research as the timing for interviews will be brought forward,” said Kota Yamamoto, a junior at Meisei University, who took part in a session in Tachikawa, western Tokyo.

An official of a gas seller in Tokyo said, “In a seller’s market, we want students to learn the good points of small and midsize companies.”

Coronavirus banner