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2012年11月30日 (金)

就職内定率 新卒者へ一層の支援が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 30, 2012)
Graduates-to-be need more help in employment search
就職内定率 新卒者へ一層の支援が必要だ(11月29日付・読売社説)

The worst appears to be over for the employment situation for newly graduating students, which once was so tough it went through what was called a "hyper-glacial period of finding jobs." However, the situation remains severe.

Among university students scheduled to graduate next spring, 63.1 percent had received job offers as of Oct. 1. This figure has increased for two consecutive years, a rise prompted partly by demand for reconstruction projects in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, the figure has not yet recovered to the level before the so-called Lehman Brothers shock in 2008.

The economic outlook through early next year remains opaque, as indicated by factors such as real gross domestic product for the July-September quarter recording minus growth. It is possible companies will cut down on new hires. As such, there is no room for optimism on how far the job securing rate will grow before students actually graduate next spring.

Given this, it is important for the government and each university and college to reinforce their support for graduating students hunting for jobs.


Ministry program a good start

While the trend of seeking jobs at major companies has been strong among new graduates, quite a few young people have joined small and midsize enterprises that operate attractive businesses, where they found working was worthwhile. We hope students who have not been able to find employment will see the larger picture and keep searching for a job.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has been operating a "job supporters for graduates" program, under which special counselors help newly graduating students find jobs.

These counselors at Hello Work public employment agencies go to universities and introduce students to individual companies, for instance, and carefully guide the students so they can find jobs.

Thanks to these efforts, more than 160,000 graduates found work last fiscal year.

Among their policy pledges for the coming House of Representatives election, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party both mentioned improving the employment rate among new graduates.

Some policies both parties advocate--such as providing subsidies to companies that offer short-term employment on a trial basis to people unable to find permanent jobs even after they graduate, and employment counseling at Hello Work offices--have been implemented and are producing some effects. It is important for the administration that will come after next month's election to improve them further.

Among this spring's graduates, 23 percent found nonregular jobs, did not start working or did not go on to higher education. Among those who later found work, most jobs were nonregular, according to the ministry.


Protect nonregular workers

Nonregular workers, whose wages are lower than those of full-time workers, tend to become targets for restructuring when a company falls on hard times. As their lifestyle is not stable, many are unable or unwilling to get married. Most are not covered by employment pension insurance, so there are concerns they will get low pension payments--or no pension at all--when they become elderly.

Nonregular workers are cheap labor for firms, and it is not easy for them to become full-time workers. Improving the conditions of nonregular workers is a major pending policy issue for the government.

To improve the employment environment, job seekers should be encouraged to move into fields that need more manpower. For example, the medical care and nursing care fields are facing growing demand as Japan's society rapidly grays. Low wages offered to workers in these fields is one reason behind their lack of manpower. The working conditions of nursing care workers also must be improved.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2012)
(2012年11月29日01時32分  読売新聞)


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