Amid labor crunch, firms woo graduates’ parents to outdo rivals

Kyodo

As job openings outnumber job-seekers in Japan, graduates looking for employment have an upper hand. As a result, more firms are trying to woo their parents through seminars and home visits to get ahead of rivals.

While students are keen to respect their parents’ opinions when selecting a company, parents are in turn eager to help their children choose a satisfying job.

“Talk to your children now, so you won’t later regret not giving them advice early enough,” Hideo Hiraoka, president of Saikyo Bank in Yamaguchi Prefecture, said to about 30 parents at a recruiting seminar for the regional bank in January.

Hiraoka himself regrets not helping his son with job-seeking.

“Excessive intervention should be avoided, but giving advice at an appropriate time doesn’t hurt,” Hiraoka said.

The bank started holding seminars for parents in 2014. Following requests from parents, this year it began providing details of the jobs to be performed by new hires.

A couple who have a son looking for a job in the Kansai region said they joined the seminar in the hope that their son will work for a company close to home as he has issues with his health.

They added that they wanted to help their son’s job-seeking efforts but not be overbearing.

Meanwhile, the president of Nishiwaki, Hyogo Prefecture-based golf course promotion firm Direct makes home visits to meet the parents of new hires.

Such visits are intended to explain the company’s operations and convey its expectations for the students.

The father of Kanae Nishi, 23, who joined the firm last year, initially showed reluctance about his daughter working for the company, but changed his mind after meeting with President Yasuyuki Sadamoto.

“I was able to start working with confidence, because my parents showed understanding,” Nishi said.

According to job information provider Mynavi Corp., 61 percent of universities held parent seminars in 2016.

Meanwhile, a survey of students by human resource firm BizReach Inc. showed that around 70 percent respected their parents’ opinions when they received informal job offers.

“As senior members of society, you should create more opportunities with your children to talk about jobs and companies,” a BizReach lecturer told a group of parents at a recent event on job-seeking.

But not all students and companies are eager to communicate with parents.

A 21-year-old male university student who wants to work at a midsize company said he doesn’t want to consult with his parents, whose values are different.

“I will never talk about my job-seeking because my parents like stable (workplaces) and will be absolutely against my decision,” he said.

An official with a construction company, meanwhile, said the firm “will not hire students who heavily rely on their parents,” saying such students are not independent enough.

“There is so much information (on job-seeking), leaving many students at a loss,” said Keiko Hirano, a chief researcher at Bunkahoso Career Partners. “I would like parents to listen to what children have to say, not to turn their backs on them and say, ‘Decide on your own.’ “