Japan’s graduate hiring rate reaches near record high

Owing to Abenomics and demographic trends, Japan university graduates face better job market prospects


Japan has had a near record level of graduate employment this year, reports the FT. The newspaper writes that “96.7 percent of Japan’s new university graduates have found jobs this year.” This is an upturn from 2010 when employment rates for graduates fell to just 91 percent in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and recession. It is also an improvement upon the 1990s and 2000s, before the crisis, in which hiring levels hovered between 92 and 94 percent.

For Japanese university graduates, their final year of study is defined by a customarily lengthy process of attending graduate job seminars and interviews. Jobs attained by graduates are often for life and those who miss out in the process the first time around face a real loss of earnings and career potential, as recent fresh faced graduates are often favoured by employers each year. According to the BBC, Japan is “a country where the first step on the employment ladder can be a crucial one.”

Jobs attained by Japanese graduates are often for life

The increase in hiring rates is being touted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration as a result of improving economic conditions. The prime minister has, since 2012, been pursuing a number of economic reforms – dubbed Abenomics – and described by The Economist as a “mix of reflation, government spending and a growth strategy designed to jolt the economy out of suspended animation that has gripped it for more than two decades.”

While Japan’s economy has been performing well of late, with growth rates in the first quarter of 2015 exceeding expectation, the boost in graduate hiring can also be put down to wider demographic changes. As the country’s baby boomer generation retires, businesses looking to replenish their workforce face a smaller pool of potential recruits, owing to Japan’s fall in birth rate in recent years.