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2011年1月19日 (水)

大卒内定率68.8% 大寒波で春が見えない

(Mainichi Japan) January 19, 2011
Reduced corporate tax rate should make it easier for firms to hire new graduates
社説:大卒内定率68.8% 大寒波で春が見えない

The proprietor of a sushi restaurant in Tokyo's Kanda district who advertised a job opening was baffled by the number of college graduates that applied for the position.

"I told them that this wasn't the place for them and turned them down," the owner said. "It's the first time that something like this has happened."

The shortage of jobs for new graduates is nothing new.

But among college seniors set to graduate this spring, those who had secured tentative job offers from employers stood at 68.8 percent for four-year-college students, and 45.3 percent for junior-college students according to statistics as of Dec. 1, 2010 -- the lowest since 1996, from which time such data remains.

While things recently have appeared to be picking up for the corporate world, finding employment is still very much an upward battle.

The Kan administration has taken various steps to address the problem, including increasing the number of career counselors to assist students in their job search, bolstering support programs aimed at improving students' work-readiness, and alleviating the mismatched ambitions of small to mid-sized businesses who are seeking to hire and new graduates who are looking elsewhere.

Still, the government's measures have yet to achieve adequate results.

Technological innovations have led to more and more people in the office being replaced by computers that can perform various tasks.

With manufacturing being based increasingly out of developing countries, there are fewer menial jobs as well.

The simple fact that the number of total jobs available has dropped is a major cause of the dismal employment prospects for new graduates.

Japan is not the only country struggling to distribute jobs to young people.

But it must be pointed out that its strict legal restrictions on the dismissal of full-time regular employees has forced employers to cut back on labor costs by avoiding hiring new graduates for full-time positions.

The hiring of Chinese and other foreign students has also emerged as a growing trend among Japanese companies, making employment opportunities even scarcer for Japanese job seekers.

When Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced his decision to reduce the effective corporate tax rate by 5 percent in the 2011 fiscal year, he appealed to Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura and other business leaders that they promise to share the benefits of the tax cut with workers, as the measure is meant to protect jobs and spur economic growth.

In response, Yonekura only went so far as to say: "We can't promise anything, but if corporate taxes go down, the competitive power of companies go up, and so will employment."

Some companies have begun to retain earnings as a result of the business industry's budding recovery.

But shouldn't this be the time to engage more actively in the hiring of new graduates?

The corporate world must take to heart the significance and boldness of the government in lowering the corporate tax rate at a time when increasing burdens on citizens cannot be avoided to achieve fiscal reform and rebuild the social security system.

There are bound to be students who resent their bad luck of graduating at a time of such job shortages.

But they must also consider that there are lesser-known, small to mid-sized businesses with potentially bright futures.

No one can know for sure how a company will perform 10 years from now.

Having the courage to join an unsung company -- with the motivation and intention of making it grow -- couldn't hurt.

Furthermore, a more flexible employment system that would allow employees to hone the skills they already have and cultivate new ones would greatly benefit young workers once they find employment.

毎日新聞 2011年1月19日 東京朝刊


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