There is a pressing need for measures aimed at helping young people find suitable jobs and to motivate them to work hard.
A Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel has put together a report on a bill on the employment of young people. The main pillar of the legislation is to make it easier for students to collect information about the situations employees face at each corporation. The government is scheduled to submit the bill to the current Diet session.
Employment conditions for young people are gradually improving in response to an upward trend in business performance. However, about 30 per cent of new university graduates quit their companies within three years, while the comparable figure for high school graduates stands at 40 per cent. A large number of young people are working as non-regular employees despite their reluctance to do so.
It is not easy for anyone to make up for lost opportunities after getting off to a bad start at the first stage of their career.
The bill would require corporations to provide prospective graduates with some pertinent career information when they recruit new employees. The information should include the number of people who have quit the company, prospective overtime hours and the percentage of paid holidays and child-rearing leave allowed employees.
There is a persistent tendency among students to seek employment at major corporations. While some students have a hard time having their job applications accepted by these corporations, small and mid-size businesses are finding it difficult to secure capable employees. One factor behind this situation seems to be the anxiety felt by students about what is known as "black companies," or those that treat young people as disposable workers.
The legislation would also make it possible for students to obtain information about the situation facing workers at small and mid-size companies, a task necessary for helping them find employment. Students tend to lack sufficient information about such businesses. Therefore, the aim of the bill is appropriate.
Students hesitant to seek data
The problem is the bill would only require corporations to provide pertinent information for students if the students ask for such data. We feel this would make students hesitant to request information from companies out of concern that they could be unfavorably treated in the screening of job seekers.
Questions can also be raised about a clause included in the bill that would permit corporations to select the kind of information to be provided to students that suit their convenience. This means students could be denied the information they seek.
The decision to include these rules in the bill reflects strong objections from the corporate sector to requiring companies to uniformly release pertinent information through their brochures and websites.
The government needs to encourage corporations to take proactive measures in this respect. Corporations' efforts to release information helpful to students will probably do much to improve their popular image.
It also is important to take steps to make the envisaged information request system user-friendly, for example, by making it possible for students to ask for necessary information through "Hello Work" job-placement centres and their schools.
The legislation would create a system by which corporations ready and willing to employ and train young people would be certified by the labour ministry as such. To translate this into action, the ministry will likely support corporations in the form of subsidies and through other means. This plan will require companies to fulfil certain criteria, such as ensuring a certain percentage of new employees remain at the firms. We hope these measures will accomplish their intended purposes in improving the employment situation facing young people.
The report also emphasizes the need to extend greater support for those still unemployed or working as non-regular employees after graduating from school. To enable young people to fulfil their potential, greater efforts must be made to offer them a second chance at successfully finding a job.
The stable employment of young people is important in helping to address problems arising from the low birthrate and promoting regional vitalization. Government offices, corporations and schools should unite their efforts to stabilize the employment of young people.