Do you know how university students in Japan find a job after their graduation? Actually, they start looking for a job long before they actually graduate from university. Students go to university for 4 years in Japan. As early as they are a junior (the 3rd grade), many of students start their activity in search for their permanent job - this activity is called "Shukatsu".
This job search activity or Shukatsu is a prolonged process that can take up to 1.5 years. Candidates must go through an IQ test and several interviews before they finally acquire a position. The competition is fierce for a limited number of openings in some popular corporations. Usually traditional big corporations are popular among prospective graduates.
An interesting tendency in Japanese companies is that they don’t really care what students have achieved in university. What the companies are more interested in these prospective graduates are which university they come from. The more prestigious university the candidate comes from, the better. They would hire a graduate from a prestigious university with GPA 2.0 rather than a graduate from a less known university with GPA 4.0.
A prolonged recruiting process coupled with indifference of companies toward students’ academic achievement leads to Japanese students’ typical thinking that studying in university is of no use. You might be so surprised to find how much students – especially those who study business related disciplines like economics, management, marketing and law - do not study on campus in Japan. Electing subjects they major is not considered important. Their sole purpose is to go to university and it does not matter what they study. Furthermore, you don’t need high marks to get a job. As a result, it is rational for them to study more than barely to pass final exams.
This mysterious attitude of Japanese corporations stems from their traditional belief that on-the-job training and company-held seminars are sufficient to turn these potentially intelligent but ignorant students into competent employees.Companies invest education in employees and their grateful employees work for one company for a period long enough to allow the educational investment to pay off. This is a beneficial cycle that brought a splendid success to the Japaneanse economy – until recently.
Now the cycle has rather become a vicious one. Japan has seen a still ongoing economic stagnation in the last 20 years. It is increasingly more difficult for university graduates to find a “good, stable and well-paid” job nowadays. The period for a job search becomes longer, while the chance to find it is slimmer. Some frustrated students finally decided to take to the street. Now they are organizing a demonstration demanding for a fairer and less-burdening recruiting process. One of them sent me an email asking me to promote this event to the public. The demonstration will take place in Tokyo on January 23rd. Joining this event might help you understand more about plight that Japanese students face today.