Japan: Number of university graduates landing jobs hits record high
A graduation ceremony at University of Tokyo. Source: Shutterstock

The number of fresh grads landing jobs in Japan has increased from last year, hitting a record rate of 97.6 percent as of April 1, 2017, government data released last Friday showed.

According to Japan Times, the employment rate edged up 0.3 percentage points from a year ago, reflecting demand from companies as the country grapples with labour shortage. The strong showing continues the upward trend for the sixth consecutive year in the annual survey by the Health, Labour and Welfare, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ministries.

“The ratio of job offers to job-seekers remains high for university graduates and the trend is likely to continue,” a Labour Ministry official said. The official attributed the positive figures to students starting their job hunt early.

The Kanto region had the highest hiring rate for university graduates at 98.8 percent, in the survey that interviewed graduates at 24 randomly selected public and 38 private universities.

The findings ride on reports earlier this year Japan’s unemployment rate had fallen to a 22-year low of 2.8 percent in February –  a result seen as offering positive signs for the country’s economy.

Expanding recruitment 

The new data also revealed companies extending their recruitment drives to high schools and vocational schools.

Among job seekers who newly graduated from high school, their employment rate rose for the seventh year in a row to 98 percent (up 0.3 percentage points from last year), data from the education and labour ministries revealed.

Every student who graduated from the Tokyo Metropolitan Shiba Commercial High School had gained employment, thanks to a bigger pool of jobs to choose from.

Bloomberg reported earlier this year the country’s job-to-applicant ratio is at a 25-year-high as of January this year, due to the country’s low birth rate and slowly recovering economy.

Miki Kobayashi, a senior teacher at the school said:

“Job-seekers can make better choices as a number of job offers for infrastructure-related businesses and hotels increased in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

Vocational schools are seeing similar growth as high schools. At Kochi National College of Technology, 93 of its trained engineers who sought jobs got more than 2,600 offers.

“More companies, including those that used to seek only university graduates, have started posting vacancies (for vocational school graduates),” said Kochi’s head of the career support centre Katsunori Yokoi said.

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