Official Recruitment Season Starts for 2025 Graduates; Nearly 80% Already Have Job Offers

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Students are seen at a job fair in Yokohama on March 1.

The official recruiting season began Saturday for university students graduating in 2025. However, due to labor shortages, hiring schedules have been moved up, and nearly 80% of students have already received job offers, according to a survey.

In the current seller’s market, companies are increasingly trying to maintan good relationships with students who were not hired or who declined offers, viewing them as potential future hires or customers.

MerryBiz Inc., a Tokyo-based company specializing in accounting outsourcing services, has been providing feedback on how to speak and other points for improvement to students who did not pass its interview since it began hiring new graduates last year. The hiring manager expressed hopes that these students will remain fans of the company and remember them when considering a career change or if they become accounting managers at other companies.

Similarly, Will Group Inc., a human resources service company in Tokyo, sends emails with interview evaluations to all students who are not hired.

“Companies have shifted from being the choosers to being the chosen,” said a spokesperson. “We want to differentiate ourselves by demonstrating a sincere attitude toward job-seeking students.”

This situation has its roots in the severe labor shortage. According to Recruit Co., only 36.1% of companies were able to recruit their planned number of 2024 graduates, the lowest figure since the survey began with 2012 graduates.

Many companies are focusing on mid-career hires. Takayoshi Kurita, director of Recruit’s employment research institute, says companies are hoping students interested in them might join later in their careers, and are trying to improve their image by showing they care.

Some companies are introducing a fast-track system for those who declined a job offer. Starting with 2025 graduates, Chiba Kogyo Bank in Chiba will allow students who declined offers to reapply within three years or so and go through only one interview, instead of multiple.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. in Tokyo has also introduced a system where graduates can start the hiring process from the final interview if they reapply within three years. “We expect that people who have experienced different company cultures and different jobs will contribute to our business innovation,” noted a representative from the recruitment team.

According to the survey by Recruit, 78.1% of 2025 graduates had already received job offers as of May 15, an increase of six percentage points from last year. The government asks companies to start the recruiting process in June of students’ fourth year and to issue job offers in October, but this rule is increasingly becoming a formality.

Only 49.4% of the students surveyed were still job-hunting, a drop of 8.6 percentage points from the same time last year. As recruitment gets moved up, so too does the finish line.