Simultaneous recruiting of new graduates

Simultaneous recruiting of new graduates or periodic recruiting of new graduates (新卒一括採用, Shinsotsu-ikkatsu-saiyō) is the Japanese business custom in which Japanese companies hire new university graduates en masse. This custom was practiced in South Korea until a 2010 age discrimination law banned the practice in South Korea.[1] In 2018 the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) announced that its 1,600 member companies, which represent a large portion of Japan's big business companies, would no longer be required to follow the custom from 2020 onwards.[2]

A company information session for new graduates in Japan. Japanese major companies tend to hold sessions only for students in particular prestigious universities.
A company information session for new graduates in Japan

Hiring practices edit

In Japan, most students hunt for jobs before graduation from university or high school, seeking "informal offers of employment" (内定, naitei) one year before graduation, which will hopefully lead to "formal offer of employment" (正式な内定, seishiki na naitei) six months later, securing them a promise of employment by the time they graduate. Japanese university students generally begin job hunting all at once in their third year. [citation needed]

The government permits companies to begin the selection process and give out informal offers beginning April 1, at the start of the fourth year. These jobs are mainly set to begin on April 1 of the following year. Due to this process, attaining a good position as a regular employee at any other time of year, or any later in life, is extremely difficult.[citation needed]

Since companies prefer to hire new graduates, students who are unsuccessful in attaining a job offer upon graduating often opt to stay in school for another year. According to a survey conducted by Mynavi, nearly 80% of job-seekers who had recently graduated from university had difficulty applying for entry-level positions in Japan.[3] This is in contrast to other countries, where companies do not generally discriminate against those who have recently graduated.[citation needed]

By contrast, potential employees in Japan are largely judged by their educational background. The prestige of the university and high school that a student attends has a marked effect on their ability to find similarly sought-after jobs as adults.[citation needed]

Large companies in particular (e.g. those listed in Nikkei 225), prefer to hire new graduates of prestigious universities "in bulk" to replace retiring workers and groom in-house talent, and the numbers can vary widely from year to year. Employers tend to hire a group of people in a mechanical fashion every year. One example is Toyota; the company hired over 1,500 new graduates in 2010, but this number was barely half of the number employed the year before, and Toyota announced its intention to cut new hires in 2011 further down to 1,200. The company may offer more jobs later on, but those who missed out on the current round of hiring will have a slim chance of gaining a position because they will be overshadowed by fresh graduates.[citation needed]

According to the nonprofit group Lifelink's survey conducted in July, 2013, one in five Japanese college students thought about committing suicide during the job-hunting process.[4]

The shūkatsu system is under strain due to Japan's shrinking population and competition from foreign and nontraditional companies.[5]

Criticism edit

This custom has been seen to cause many social problems in modern Japan. Students who do not reach a decision about their employment before graduating from university often face great hardships searching for a job after the fact, as the majority of Japanese companies prefer to hire students scheduled to graduate in the spring. In recent years, an increasing number of university seniors looking for jobs have chosen to repeat a year to avoid being placed in the "previous graduate" category by companies. Under the current system, Japanese companies penalize students who study overseas or have already graduated.[citation needed]

Reiko Kosugi, a research director at the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training, criticized this process in a 2006 essay in The Asia-Pacific Journal, saying, "If business is in a slump at the point of one's graduation and he cannot get a job, this custom produces inequality of opportunity, and people in this age bracket tend to remain unemployed for a long time."[6] Nagoya University professor Mitsuru Wakabayashi has stated, "If this custom is joined to permanent employment, it produces closed markets of employment, where outplacement is hard, and the employees tend to obey any and all unreasonable demands made by their companies so as not to be fired."[7]

Yuki Honda, a professor at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Education, has said "Whether they get a job when they graduate decides their whole life". Ken Mogi, a Japanese brain scientist, points out that limiting job opportunities would lead to a human rights issue and that Japanese companies cannot secure non-traditional competent people in the current job hunting system.[8]

The strictness of the "recruit suits" (リクルートスーツ),[9] hairstyles, and even employers' demands on how a recruit may sit has been criticized as sexist. Non-binary and transgender individuals also criticize the process, as it does not allow for gender variance.[10]

Shūshoku katsudō (Japanese: 就職活動),[11] which is abbreviated to Shūkatsu (就活), starts in April and ends during the hiring season each year from August to October.[12] Japanese university students who fail to receive a job offer often must wait a year to repeat the process competing against the following year's graduating students,[12] and those graduates are referred to as shūshoku rōnin (就職浪人), borrowing the term for a masterless samurai.[13][14] The stress involved has been cited as a factor in suicide in Japan.[15][11]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Fisher Phillips Korean Labor and Employment Law: Cross Border Employer Blog". Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Why Japan's 'shūkatsu' job-seeking system is changing". Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  3. ^ "【大学と就職】8割の企業が採用しない? 既卒の就職活動の厳しい実態 - リセマム". Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  4. ^ Otake, Tomoko (18 October 2013). "Job hunt stressing students, making them suicidal: poll". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  5. ^ Why Japan’s ‘shūkatsu’ job-seeking system is changing BBC, Mari Shibata, 21 August 2019
  6. ^ Youth Employment in Japan’s Economic Recovery:'Freeters' and 'NEETs' Archived 5 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 11 May 2006
  7. ^ Career Development under the Lifetime Employment System of Japanese Organizations Archived 30 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine (PDF) Bulletin of the Faculty of Education, Nagoya University, 1988, Vol. 35, 1–20
  8. ^ "茂木健一郎氏が日本の新卒一括採用に「人権問題」と批判 - ライブドアニュース". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  9. ^ (in Japanese) リクルートスーツの違いは何?就活以外の着用シーンは? 2018/06/07
  10. ^ "Shukatsu sexism: The Japanese jobseekers fighting discrimination". BBC News. 17 January 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  11. ^ a b Why Japan’s ‘shūkatsu’ job-seeking system is changing BBC, Mari Shibata, 21 August 2019
  12. ^ a b Shukatsu sexism: The Japanese jobseekers fighting discrimination BBC News, Tom Bateman, 17 January 2021
  13. ^ Akihiko Yonekawa. Beyond Polite Japanese. page 25. Kodansha 2001. ISBN 4-7700-2773-7
  14. ^ 浪人 at Japanese-English dictionaries: プログレッシブ和英中辞典 Archived 2013-02-18 at or ニューセンチュリー和英辞典 Archived 2013-02-19 at
  15. ^ Do stressed millennials spell end for ‘shukatsu’, Japan’s notorious graduate recruitment process? SCMP, Crystal Tai, 22 May 2019

External links edit