Firms in Japan urged to cease pressure tactics on job-hunting students

The University of Tokyo warns against coercive job practices limiting students’ freedom and career choices.
By: | November 7, 2023
Topics: Japan | News | Recruitment

The University of Tokyo has issued a strong appeal to organisations to refrain from employing pressure tactics on job-hunting students, a practice that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years as organisations scramble to secure talent amid a chronic labour shortage.

In a statement, the university expressed concerns over the growing use of coercive methods, such as obliging students who have received informal job offers to attend frequent social gatherings, enduring long hours of job training, or participating in study trips. These practices are said to hinder students from exploring other employment opportunities and limit their freedom of choice.

The university’s statement highlighted instances where students are coerced into making premature decisions about their employment. In some cases, students were instructed to immediately contact other organisations and inform them of their decision to withdraw their application. In contrast, in others, they were pressured into signing binding agreements prematurely.

The university also urged organisations to adopt ethical recruitment practices that respect the rights and wellbeing of job-hunting students. It also emphasised the importance of refraining from sexual harassment caused by organisation representatives taking advantage of students’ vulnerability in their job search.

The University of Tokyo’s stance aligns with the broader efforts to improve recruitment practices in Japan’s corporate landscape. The Japan Business Federation has established guidelines that outline acceptable recruitment timelines, with job orientation sessions permitted to begin in March and formal offers typically granted in October.

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While the prevalence of pressure tactics has shown some improvements in recent years, with a government survey indicating a decline from 19.9% in 2015 to 1.9% in 2022, eliminating these practices remains a challenge. The allure of securing more attractive employment opportunities often compels students to continue their job search even after receiving informal offers, reported The Japan Times.