It used to be relatively easy for college students to get jobs in Japan. Often, they would be offered a job up to a year before they graduated. With the massive retirement of baby boomers over the last two years, hopes were high that the employment situation would be good for graduates.
But the global financial crisis has made matters worse. Not only are there fewer job offers, but some companies are canceling offers made to students a year ago.
One student who had been promised a job recalls being told by the company's personnel manager: “Our financial situation has become so difficult that we cannot hire you.” A friend of the student says, “He is still in shock and hasn't been able to start looking for another job yet. Since he cannot concentrate on his dissertation, he may not be able even to graduate.”
Human resource consultant Naoki Fukushima says, “Considering the current economic situation, there are probably a lot of college students whose job offers are being canceled.”
Lawyer Hideo Ogawa adds: “Some companies give students job offers in order to maintain their image of reliability in the market even though they know they may go bust.”
Ogawa says that a job offer to students can be legally recognized as being a concluded employment agreement. He says that unless students are charged with a crime or they have health problems which negatively affect a company's business, companies cannot legally cancel the offer. He claims students can sue the company and request compensation.
Fukushima, however, advises those student to ask their colleges to negotiate with the companies instead. Otherwise the student who sues the company will possibly end up on a “blacklist” after he/she starts working for it. He said those students should request the company to hire them after the economy recovers.
Fukushima also suggests that those students shouldn't graduate without job offers; rather they should remain at college. “Japanese companies still require the status of 'new graduate' as a hiring condition for young people," he says. "If those students start their career as part-time workers, for example, there will be fewer job opportunities for them in the future.”
Parents also play an important role in those students' mental care, says clinical psychotherapist Hiroshi Yahata. “Parents shouldn't say to their children, 'Why did you apply for a job at that company?' Rather, they should help their kids find jobs together to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on them. Parents should be more understanding about their children's situation.”
To conclude, Kagoshima advises students to try companies who actively publish CSR (corporate social responsibility) reports. He says they tend not to cancel their job offers to students. (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)© Japan Today