Survey: 42% of Major Japanese Companies to Increase Hiring Next Spring

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Students participate in a job-hunting event in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on March 1.

Forty-two percent of companies plan to increase new graduate hires in spring 2024, up six percentage points from a year ago, according to a survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun and Nippon Television Network Corp.

With economic activities returning to normal after stagnating due to COVID-19, an increasing number of companies intend to step up their recruitment drives to secure human resources.

The questionnaire survey, which was conducted on 122 major Japanese companies from mid-March to early April, asked about plans to recruit new graduates in spring 2024. In previous surveys of this kind, the percentage of companies who said they aimed to increase such spring hires was low during the spread of the coronavirus, with figures of 9% for spring 2021 and 14% for spring 2022. However, as domestic infections eased, the percentage figures rose, with 36% of firms saying they planned more new grad hires in spring 2023 and 42% saying similarly for spring 2024.

The transportation sector was conspicuous among industries. Against the backdrop of increased passenger numbers, All Nippon Airways said it planned to resume hiring new graduates for flight attendant positions for the first time in four years and aimed to more than double the previous year’s number. The firm said it was necessary to secure human resources to resume growth on the back of the recovery in air travel demand.

Major railway companies, meanwhile, said they would increase their hiring of new graduates to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Many companies said they would try to secure the necessary personnel needed for technological innovation in such fields as electric vehicle manufacturing, while others planned to hire more new graduates for overseas expansion.

Kubota Corp. said it would strengthen recruitment in production technology and services to promote its global business, while in the financial sector, some banks and insurance companies aimed to acquire digital talent.

Forty-one percent of companies said their spring 2024 hiring figure would be around the same level as the previous year, while a similar percentage said they intended to hire more new graduates. Many companies said they wanted to maintain a generational balance in their respective workforces by securing a number of new grad hires. Only 4% of firms said they planned to hire fewer new graduates than the previous year.

The survey also illuminated a trend in which firms were reviewing the traditional simultaneous-hiring of new graduates, with nearly 60% of companies saying they intended to employ more experienced mid-career workers. Fujitsu Ltd., which said it planned to reduce its number of new grad hires by nearly 200, said it will recruit highly professional, midcareer workers as required.

It is vital for companies to have a flexible working system to secure skilled employees. “Many companies had to respond to the environmental changes triggered by COVID-19,” said Takayoshi Kurita, director of Recruit’s Shushoku Mirai Kenkyusho (Employment Future Institute). “An increasing number of companies are trying to hire people with skills and values that were previously lacking.”