Business

Keidanren to scrap long-held Japan recruitment guidelines in 2021

Kyodo

Keidanren said Tuesday it has decided to scrap its long-held guidelines for corporate hiring of university students to give flexibility in recruiting amid increasing competition for young and talented workers.

Japan’s largest business lobby, also known as the Japan Business Federation, will abolish the guidelines for university students joining the workplace in spring 2021.

Current third-year students who will enter companies in spring 2020 will be the last generation to follow the traditional job-hunting schedule.

Many companies start their business year on April 1.

The decision comes after Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the business lobby, said last month he feels “uncomfortable about Keidanren setting hiring schedule dates,” and expressed an intention to end the practice.

Many university and government officials are concerned that scrapping the guidelines could lead to a drawn-out job hunt that would have an adverse effect on students’ academic work.

A government-led meeting with academic and business circles will start discussing new hiring rules, possibly from next Monday.

The recruitment guidelines, designed to allow university students to concentrate on their studies, originally started in the form of an employment agreement in 1953 between the government, universities and businesses.

But the system was later scrapped due to companies circumventing the rules to hire young workers earlier than agreed.

Keidanren then set up the current rules by which many of the group’s member firms — mostly major companies — have typically abided, although in a nonbinding manner. Under the rules, Keidanren member companies begin holding job orientation sessions in March for third-year students who will be seeking work upon completion of their studies and start the applicant screening process, including job interviews, in June the same year.