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The proportion of new university graduates in Japan who had secured jobs as of April 1 stood at 96.0%, down 2.0 percentage points from a year before, a survey by the labor and education ministries showed Tuesday.

The drop was second biggest since the survey began in 1997. The biggest year-on-year decline was the 3.9 points recorded for students who graduated in March 2010 amid the global financial crisis.

The latest survey suggested that many of the students who graduated in March were unable to land the jobs they had hoped for, with companies in the tourism, airline and other industries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic having curbed new hiring.

The COVID-19 crisis had a serious impact on students’ job-hunting activities, as opportunities to collect information decreased partly because of the cancellations of corporate job seminars.

The latest survey found that 96.0% of graduates who majored in humanities secured jobs. The rate came to 95.9% for those from science and engineering faculties.

By location, the rate was highest for universities in the Chubu region, at 98.3%, and lowest in the Chugoku and Shikoku region, at 94.5%.

The rate for junior college graduates came to 96.3%.

The job-securing rate for those who graduated from vocational schools dropped 5.6 points to 91.2%, as students who studied tourism and the airline business had difficulty landing jobs.

According to the education ministry, the ratio for high school students as of the end of March fell 0.2 point from a year before to 97.9%.

The meager drop came apparently because many students opted to advance to tertiary institutions due to expected difficulties getting jobs amid the epidemic.

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