Shortened Job-Hunting Season in Japan Causing Worry for Students

February 11, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. briefing (n.) – a meeting held to provide information or instructions
Example:  The organizers of the conference had a briefing with the speakers before the event started.

2. recruitment (n.) -  refers to the process of finding a qualified person for a job
Example:  The company’s recruitment process requires applicants to take an exam and go through an interview.

3. on the rise (idiom) – to increase in number or intensity
Example: The number of people choosing to work abroad is on the rise.

4. drop-off (n.) – a noticeable decrease in number and size
Example:  The school administration expects an enrollment drop-off this year due to the higher tuition fee.

5. formidable (adj.)-  difficult to deal with or overcome
Example:  The soccer team practiced hard to defeat its formidable opponents.

Read the text below.

Students in Japan are finding it difficult to adjust to the shortened job-hunting season, which now starts in December, two months later than in past years.

In the country, students usually begin preparing for jobs while still in their third year of university. This means students are busy attending job seminars, sending applications and asking advice from graduates. But some have argued this process affects the students’ studies. Members of the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren) decided to delay job-hunting season, so that students have extra time to focus on school.

However, Shoei Utsuda, head of the Japan Foreign Trade Council, suggests delaying it even further so students can concentrate more on their studies. Utsuda proposes for corporate briefing sessions to start in February or March for third-year students and job interviews in August for seniors.

While this idea may be beneficial to students, having to start looking for jobs later is making them worry even more, said Hiromasa Yonekura, president of Keidanren.

Not only do students have less time for job-hunting, the job market drop-off for university students has also become a formidable challenge, as more Japanese firms hire foreign graduates to help expand business abroad. In fact, the use of online recruitment systems is on the rise, with some recruitment pages being posted on the Internet.

Fast Retailing Co., which operates the Uniqlo clothing chain, says 900 to 1,000 out of about 1, 200 new recruits will be non-Japanese. Other companies such as Rakuten and Hitachi Ltd. will also hire more foreign employees in 2012.

Because of the shortened job-hunting season, many companies plan to increase the number of recruitment briefing sessions. But with more competition and the possibility that the starting date for job-hunting will again change, students preparing to look for jobs are only growing more anxious.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the change in the time period for job-hunting?
·         In your opinion, what should students focus on, their studies or job hunting? Why?

Discussion B

·         Should companies have long recruitment processes? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of companies hiring students before graduation?


February 11, 2012