Jun 18, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

As Japan’s labor shortage continues, the country’s college students are making known their preference to work for larger companies -- despite the fact that smaller firms have ample openings. Here’s a closer look at the phenomenon, as recently reported by The Japan Times.

Bigger Companies, Fewer Jobs?

Japanese companies are expected to soon start the hiring process for students expected to graduate in the spring of 2019.

According to figures from Recruit Holdings Co.’s Recruit Works Institute, however, smaller companies may face more challenges when it comes to appealing to new grads compared to larger companies. Specifically, while there are 462,900 jobs at companies with 300 or fewer employees, there are only 46,700 applicants. In other words, just 10 percent of vacancies will be filled if the trend continues.

Meanwhile, a staggering 138,000 Japanese undergrads and postgrads aspire to work for companies with at least 5,000 employees -- a 12 percent rise over the previous years. Meanwhile, the number of positions available has risen by just five percent to just over 51,000 -- meaning there are just 37 job openings for every 100 job-seeker.

What’s Driving the Trend?

Experts attribute the dichotomy to a perception among students that large companies treat their employees better than small companies. Fusako Takei, a senior researcher at employment information company Disco Inc., told The Japan Times that students “hope to work at large companies due chiefly to the expectations of the people around them.”

Despite the imbalance, many imminent candidates remain positive that they’ll be able to get jobs: According to a survey by Disco, just over half of students believe that they’ll fare better in this year’s job market than they would have a year ago.

Said one university career support center official, “Given the seller’s market situation, more than a few students thinks they can get positions easily or secure informal job offers from large companies.”












Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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