Unemployment is obviously a huge problem in the U.S. right now. But the Japanese job market is also extremely tough, particularly for young graduates, many of whom have difficulty finding jobs right out of college (the typical recruiting style for Japanese companies) and end up taking temporary jobs — and then find themselves stuck.
Some particularly troubling figures from the Times article:
Last year, 45 percent of those ages 15 to 24 in the work force held irregular jobs, up from 17.2 percent in 1988 and as much as twice the rate among workers in older age groups, who cling tenaciously to the old ways. Japan’s news media are now filled with grim accounts of how university seniors face a second “ice age” in the job market, with just 56.7 percent receiving job offers before graduation as of October 2010 — an all-time low.
I taught high school in Japan several years ago, and to think that many of my bright, talented, fantastic students are probably facing this fate right now is really, really sad.
Beth Hillman taught English in Japan for four years. She’s the co-founder and co-organizer of Joshikai San Francisco, a networking group for women with a connection to Japan.