The proportion of university students graduating in March 2000 who had been promised jobs increased for the first time in three years according to surveys by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture and by the Ministry of Labour. By October 1, 2000, 63.7 percent of all university students who graduated and wished to work had been promised employment. This figure was up 0.1 percentage points over the figure reported for the previous year. However, the figure for male students had dropped 0.4 percentage points to reach a record low of 66 percent, while that for female students rose two percentage points to 59.7 percent. The drop in the employment rate for female university graduates seen over the past few years has thus finally bottomed out.
Where high school graduates are concerned, the proportion of graduates who had been promised jobs stood at 42.5 percent, up from 41.2 percent the previous year. This too reversed a decline over the past several years. The ratio of job openings to high-school graduates to the number of students wishing to work stood at 0.89 in March, an increase of 0.04 percentage point compared to the previous year. This improvement is attributable to a 1.5 percent increase in the number of jobs offered and a 2.2 percent decrease in the number of high-school graduates seeking jobs. The Ministry of Labour views these changes as part of a longer-term trend whereby an increasing number of high school graduates change their minds about working and decide to go on to higher education because of the tight job market.
The estimated number of university students who were about to graduate without promise of employment totalled 142,000 (an increase of 1,000 compared to the previous year), while that of high school students in a similar situation totalled 133,000 (a drop of 6,000). Although the success rate of promised employment before graduating has stopped falling, it still hovers at a low level. The Ministry of Labour takes the view that it is becoming more difficult for students to obtain a pre-graduation promise of employment.
This survey, which has been conducted on a telephone or interview basis since fiscal 1994, has a sample of 5,860 students from 108 national, public, and private universities and two-year colleges. The respondents are asked about their gender, whether they wish to get a job, whether they have been promised employment, and other matters which relate to their prospective employment.
Previously there was an agreement between firms and universities concerning recruitment, and the scheduling of recruitment activities and job-hunting was mutually arranged. The aims were to protect the integrity of the education program within the universities and to ensure that students all had an equal opportunity to obtain a good job. But this rather loose agreement was put aside in fiscal 1999. Since then recruitment activities have been brought forward, and it is now common for firms to actively woo third-year students to their organizations. In response to requests from universities and to the publicity given to the problem of lowered scholastic performance among university students, there have been moves in various quarters to reformulate the agreement. Nikkeiren (the Japan Federation of Employers' Associations), for example, has stated that its members will once more refrain from contacting third-year students.
previous page next page MENU Working Conditions and the Labor Market INDEX