Tue, Mar 21, 2017 - Page 9 News List

Japan’s ‘Matrix’-like dilemma: Too many jobs, too few immigrants

Big employers are widening their nets to make sure they get the best recruits — and waking up to an untapped source of recruits — foreign students at Japanese universities

By Shoko Oda and Isabel Reynolds  /  Bloomberg

Big employers are widening their nets to make sure they get the best recruits, said Masanori Ishida, senior managing director in sales and marketing at Pasona Group Inc, a temporary services and recruitment company.

“Smaller companies have long accepted new recruits up to about three years after graduation,” Ishida said in an interview on March 10. “Now big companies are beginning to follow suit.”

More inclusiveness, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual applicants, would gradually become the norm, he said.

Food company Calbee Inc, for example, plans a new drive to recruit a handful of personnel this year who graduated as long as five years ago, in a bid to improve diversity. Trading company Mitsui & Co is planning overnight camps in August to broaden the recruitment base to applicants who might have been overseas earlier in the year. Hoshino Resorts Inc is allowing students to answer questions by video for the first time to make it easier for them to apply from afar.

“Japanese companies will have to improve their work environment or we will not be able to attract people,” Daiwa Securities Group president Takashi Hibino told investors on Feb. 28.

The company has already made changes to better enable women and older people to continue to work, Hibino added, but more must be done.

Big companies are waking up to another untapped source of recruits — foreign students at Japanese universities. A job fair for overseas students held at Pasona’s Tokyo headquarters on March 10 attracted 32 companies — including all the nation’s major banks. Trading company Itochu Corp and synthetic fiber maker Toray Industries Inc were also represented.

“I want to work in Japan,” said Vietnamese student Tuyet Ngan, 26, dressed in a black skirt suit like her Japanese counterparts.

She said she was looking for a job in food or shipping.

“Japan has a lot of old people, so I think they need young people,” she said.

Additional reporting by Takahiko Hyuga

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