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Editorial: Companies must be flexible in helping college students find jobs in Japan

  • May 14, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 12:20 p.m.
  • English Press

The spread of the new coronavirus has had a serious impact on job-hunting activities by university seniors. To prevent a recurrence of the so-called employment ice age, companies are urged to implement measures as flexibly as possible.


Job fairs for university students who are scheduled to graduate next spring usually start in March, and interviews get fully underway in June.


However, people have been asked to refrain from going out since April in order to prevent the spread of infection, and companies have postponed job briefings across the board this year. Many companies have no prospects for conducting job interviews, which are key to determining whether to hire someone.


Some students have already received employment offers, but quite a few have been unable to pursue job-hunting activities as they intended.


Mynavi Corp., which offers recruiting information, has received comments such as “I don’t have any opportunities to ascertain the atmosphere at companies, as job briefings and interviews have been postponed.” This indicates growing anxiety among students.


Under such circumstances, major companies in particular have increased their efforts to recruit people via the internet.


MUFG Bank, Ltd. held a job briefing using a teleconference system. This allowed students seeking jobs to watch a video, from home and other locations, in which an official in charge of personnel affairs provided job descriptions. The banking company could receive and answer questions from the students through the internet.


Online recruiting allows companies and students to connect, while avoiding the risk of increasing infections. For students who live far away, this system benefits them by saving transportation expenses. It is likely to become a new recruiting measure.


However, some small and mid-sized companies that cannot set up a similar communication environment on their own have been hesitant to start such recruitment activities.


In April, the Gunma prefectural government invited local companies to hold a joint online job briefing. Over four days, a total of about 20 companies promoted themselves, while more than 300 students participated. It is crucial for local governments to support companies.


In light of the situation brought about by the pandemic, a review of the recruiting schedule will also become an issue. The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) has asked member companies to respond flexibly while basically maintaining the current recruiting schedule. Kyushu Electric Power Co. has announced that it will extend its deadline for accepting job applications by two weeks.


It is desired that companies will consider what opportunities they can give students, such as providing more occasions for hiring.


Support from universities is also indispensable. Many students cannot receive advice for job hunting in the way they normally would, as they have been restricted from entering their campus. Detailed responses, such as providing consultation for students through an online system, are important.


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