• Yomiuri Editorial
  • Student internships

Help future employees learn about the realities of the workforce

Many companies are concerned about the quick turnover among young people after they start work. Employment mismatches between students and companies need to be reduced by enhancing internship programs.

The government has decided to conditionally allow companies to use in their hiring process the evaluations of students who have participated in their internship programs. Such government agencies as the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry have approved the idea. This policy will start to be applied to undergraduate and graduate students graduating in the 2024 academic year.

The government has seen internship programs as an opportunity for students to develop their careers. In reality, however, they have become a chance for early hiring. The government’s policy change can be viewed as an endorsement of the reality of recruitment activities.

In recent years, 30% of young university graduates who enter the workforce quit their jobs within three years. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this” is a common feeling after people start working. It is important for students to be informed in advance about the atmosphere of the workplace and the nature of the industry.

It is difficult for a company to judge a student’s ability based on job interviews alone. It is necessary to make full use of internship programs, which allow students to gain hands-on work experience, to determine their motivation and aptitude for the job.

One major securities company has students gain experience in sales by explaining the company’s products in response to prospective requests from clients.

Companies should not only promote the company’s performance and perks, but also convey the severity and difficulties of a job so that students can imagine what it will be like to work there after joining the company.

To allow companies to use the information obtained through internship programs in recruitment activities, the government set such conditions as that an internship program must run at least five days and the company should explain to the students what they need to keep in mind after the internship is over.

Some companies may not be able to offer more than company presentations and tours due to lack of manpower and expertise. The government should collect and disseminate examples of internship programs to assist companies in their recruitment activities.

The government has asked business organizations to limit the timing of internships to long holiday periods, such as summer vacation during the junior year of university. Companies are urged to take a moderate approach.

Some students are attracted to a company because of its size or name recognition. Students are urged to actively participate in internship programs to find the reality of a job and their own aptitude, and think about what kind of job they want to pursue from a broad perspective.

According to a survey by the labor ministry, one in four students has been sexually harassed in some way during their job search, such as being persistently asked out to dinner by company employees involved in recruiting. It is wrong to take advantage of students’ vulnerable position. The government must warn companies about this issue.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 19, 2022)