The recovery of the Japanese economy has had some unexpected side effects lately, especially as far as the workplace is concerned. Because not only has it brought happier financial times for the country (and consumers), it also means more and better opportunities for students entering the workforce.
During a downturn, the expression that comes to mind as far as job-seeking graduates are concerned is "beggars can't be choosers". But in this case, it seems we've got things the wrong way round. In fact it is large, well-established companies in highly-touted domains like banking and securities who are the beggars in Japan at the moment as graduates shun their advances.
So what is keeping these young upstarts from taking these prestigious jobs? Is it the wages? Are the benefits inadequate? Are there too many hours?
These certainly play a part, but there are other reasons, such as the potential employee not liking the company or its ambience, or not being impressed by the demeanor of the interviewer. As a result, companies have had to alter their approach and start doing the unheard of – including taking an interviewee out for drinks!
While this new way of thinking has ruffled many feathers in the traditional Japanese corporate hierarchy, it should also awaken them to the fact that just maybe the Japanese work ethic is changing and focusing more on the individual instead of the corporation.
So if Japanese companies aren't willing to take a gamble and try a new approach, they may eventually face a brain drain and lose their best and brightest to countries where more enlightened employers are only too happy to offer them what they want.