Over 30% of Major Japanese Firms Plan to Hire More Graduates

Jiji Press file photo
A large number of students gather to attend a joint company information session in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on March 1.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Over 30% of major Japanese firms plan to hire more new graduates in spring 2024 than this spring, a Jiji Press survey showed Thursday.

Competition for human resources is intensifying amid a recovery in economic activity from the COVID-19 crisis, while concerns about the country’s declining population and shortages of information technology personnel are growing.

The survey covered the graduate hiring plans for spring 2024 of 100 major companies. Questionnaires were sent out from mid-February, and responses were received by mid-March.

The number of companies planning to hire more new graduates stood at 36, up by three from the previous year’s survey and topping 30% for the second straight year.

Among them, Toshiba Corp. plans to employ 610 new graduates next spring, up 40% from this spring. The plan is “based on the need to allocate personnel including for power semiconductors,” a Toshiba official said.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp. also aims to strengthen its technology-related personnel, planning to increase the hiring of new graduates by 20% to 1,000.

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways plan to double the number of new hires as demand for flight services is expected to recover.

Leading restaurant operator Zensho Holdings Co. is targeting an 80% increase in the hiring of new graduates.

Only four companies plan to reduce graduate hiring, down from nine, according to the survey.

Retail giant Aeon Co. plans to cut the number of new hires to about 2,700 from about 3,000, citing a fall in the number of workers needed, thanks to progress in digital reform.

Of the remaining companies, 44 said they plan to maintain their graduate hiring levels, and 16 did not give responses.

Also in the survey, 48 companies said the hiring environment is seen becoming tougher in the medium to long run.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. said it could become difficult to secure excellent personnel due to the declining birth rate. Kyocera Corp. said competition for technology personnel could intensify further. NEC Corp. said that demand for workers with science backgrounds will grow.

Several companies, including department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd., said they are struggling to respond to the trend of starting job-hunting activities earlier and diversifying such activities.

“The labor shortage issue, which was hard to surface amid the coronavirus crisis, is becoming evident,” said Takayoshi Kurita, chief of the employment research institute of job information provider Recruit Co.

Kurita said companies are accelerating efforts to recruit and train new graduates as they find it increasingly difficult to secure digital transformation experts through mid-career recruitment.