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2013年4月21日 (日)

就活期間短縮 「抜け駆け」で骨抜きにするな

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 21, 2013
Ensure that new job-hunting rules for students are not meaningless
就活期間短縮 「抜け駆け」で骨抜きにするな(4月20日付・読売社説)

Creating an environment for university students in which they can concentrate on their schoolwork will contribute to fostering talented human resources. It is therefore appropriate to shorten the job-hunting period for university students.

The start of job-hunting activities, which are currently banned until December of university students' third year, will be delayed until March of their third year under new rules. Also, the start of screenings by companies, including job interviews, will be delayed until August of their fourth year, four months later than now.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday asked leaders of three economic organizations, including Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), to observe the new rules. The business leaders agreed to do so.

The new rules are expected to be applied when companies hire graduates now in their second year.

Students skipping classes

Keidanren stipulates job-hunting rules in its charter on ethical recruitment, a gentleman's agreement among member companies. Currently, when the ban on job hunting ends in December, third-year students become busy preparing statements of reasons for wanting to join companies and going to orientation meetings organized by companies for prospective employees. In the process, they often skip classes. It is only natural that universities are highly dissatisfied with the current situation, which is hindering students' studies.

Screenings such as job interviews currently start for fourth-year students in spring. However, many universities abroad offer classes until summer. For fear of starting job hunting too late, many students decide not to study abroad.

If the start of the screening process is delayed until August, university students will be able to focus on their studies longer, and it will be easier for them to study abroad as well. This would also benefit companies seeking internationally oriented human resources.

The fact that Keidanren's charter is nonbinding and has no penalties for violators is problematic. Furthermore, only 830 companies among about 1,300 member companies have endorsed the charter. We cannot dispel concerns that foreign companies and others not parties to the charter will rush to corral students before the ban on job hunting ends.

A similar employment agreement in the past was abolished after it became toothless because of the practice of "aotagai" (green harvest), which refers to starting recruiting activities earlier than the agreed date. To avoid the same mistake, Keidanren needs to make the charter fully understood and make efforts to increase the number of member companies that endorse it. Companies, for their part, should willingly abide by the charter rather than only deploring a decline in students' academic ability.

Examinations for career-track positions for national civil servants are held from April to June. This schedule must be reviewed so that the government does not recruit new employees before companies do.

Concerns over shorter season

Students are concerned that it may become difficult for them to receive an unofficial job offer due to a shorter job-hunting season. And small and midsize companies are worried it will become even more difficult to acquire human resources as only big companies may attract students.

Even if small and midsize companies with good business results try to hire more graduates, there are not many students willing to work in such firms. The government, companies, universities and others need to strengthen cooperation to solve this mismatch.

We also want students to change their mind-set. In a trend that has become conspicuous, many students randomly seek jobs at big companies, probably partly because they can easily submit statements of reasons for application to companies via the Internet. This is worrisome.

We want students to find a job suitable for them through job hunting in the original sense of the phrase that focuses on a job they want, not "company hunting," in which they look for any famous company to join.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 20, 2013)
(2013年4月20日01時36分  読売新聞)


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