Graduate job hunting drags on in Japan as pandemic stalls hiring process


Many university students in Japan have been forced to continue job-hunting into the summer, as the coronavirus pandemic has stalled companies’ hiring processes, a recent private survey has shown.

The online survey of about 750 undergraduates conducted by Recruit Career Co. earlier this month showed 73.2 percent of job seekers graduating next spring had secured jobs as of July 1, sharply lower than the 85.1 percent who had done so at the same point in 2019.

A total of 44.9 percent of respondents said they are continuing their job search, including those who have been offered positions already, the survey showed.

“It’s terribly hot and humid wearing a suit and tie. I wish I could have finished (job-hunting) early,” lamented a 21-year-old male university student who attended a recruiting event in Tokyo last week.

“I feel the pressure, but I am prepared to continue (job-hunting) into the fall,” he said.

Mynavi Corp., organizer of the job fair, resumed the holding of similar events in some areas from June after suspending them in March due to the pandemic.

But as Tokyo has seen a sharp rise in the number of daily coronavirus infections in recent weeks, the company has been forced to limit the number of attendees on some occasions and take measures against the virus’ spread.

Those who have secured job offers are also unable to visit the companies they are considering joining.

“I have been offered jobs at multiple firms, but all of them conducted interviews online throughout the process,” said a 22-year-old female student at a Tokyo university. “I can’t decide which one I should join because I’m unable to get a grasp of their culture.”

The student said she will look into other companies throughout the summer so she can make the best possible choice.

Keiko Hirano, who heads a research institute of Bunkahoso Career Partners Co., worries that job-hunting with limited face-to-face interactions may leave many students feeling isolated.

“If job-hunting is drawn out while students remain unable to go to university for a long time due to the pandemic, there will be students who may struggle with mental health issues,” Hirano said.

“Sufficient care must be provided, including counseling at university career centers,” she said.

Your news needs your support

Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.

Coronavirus banner