Job-hunting begins for Japan's spring 2020 graduates amid labor crunch

JIJI, Kyodo, Staff Report

Companies started Friday to offer employment seminars for third-year university students due to graduate in spring 2020, marking the opening of the last job-hunting season under the rules set by Japan’s biggest business lobby.

The job market continues to be favorable to students as the country deals with a severe labor shortage.

Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) sets guidelines for the corporate hiring of students and March 1 is designated as the day on which companies can begin giving students briefings about job opportunities.

But more companies, such as non-Keidanren members, have begun to ignore the guidelines and make moves earlier in recent years with a goal of securing young talent. Keidanren has decided to abolish the guidelines starting with students graduating in 2021.

A two-day joint corporate seminar hosted by Recruit Career Co. began at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba Prefecture on Friday. Some 1,000 companies and around 24,000 students are expected to take part, according to Recruit Career.

Although Keidanren asks companies to refrain from conducting interviews until June, a survey by job information provider Mynavi Corp. shows 35.2 percent of companies said they would start job interviews with students this month, up 5.8 points from a year before. The proportion is higher than for any other month. Last year, many companies held such interviews in April.

“Companies are increasingly front-loading the employee selection process on the back of labor shortages,” explained Takuya Kurita, head of Mynavi’s research and marketing division.

The government will instead oversee the rules, as some colleges are concerned their students wouldn’t be able to focus on studying otherwise.