Sharing the Pain of Student Job Searching; At the Heart of Things, “No One Benefits”|Tatsuji Seki|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2015.08.14
  • Sharing the Pain of Student Job Searching; At the Heart of Things, “No One Benefits”
Today I’m writing about one of my pet theories, and I apologize to everyone who has already heard me talk about this.
It was on the Japanese news that employment interviews officially began on August 1st, and that the companies are busy with these interviews even on Saturdays. That this is what lead to a new word being created, Owahara = “harassment to stop job hunting.” I suspect this is something that non-Japanese people cannot understand.

In Japan, there are students who skip class and waste their tuition. There are companies that hire students who graduated without studying, and professors who are annoyed with their students for being useless in their research. I feel like there is a problem with the fact that nobody notices how this system of harvesting while green is bad for everyone. When it comes to whose fault it is, I want to half-jokingly reply “The Federation of Economic Organizations, I guess.” While the concept of hiring is changing at some companies, wouldn’t it be a real first step toward making a leap to the international stage if other companies also dropped the focus on “new graduates” and picked up global standards?

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In the U.S., and of course also in Thailand, college professors place an extremely high importance on classes. They even coordinate their travel plan in a way that avoids interference with the class schedule. This is because students want to get their money’s worth from their tuition, and would boo the professors if they cancelled a class. Japanese students have almost no sense of economy, and there’s an atmosphere that even seems to welcome class cancellations. If you ask freshmen what their tuition is, a huge number will respond with “I don’t know,” because “my parents pay for it directly by bank transfer.” I feel sorry for the Japanese companies hiring students like these; is this what anyone wants?

Where I live in Thailand, students don’t run themselves ragged with job hunting. Colleges don’t have “Employment Centers” or “Employment Departments.” Students begin searching for a place to work in industry or government or elsewhere around the second semester of their senior year, and calmly continue searching after graduation if they don’t find a good one before then. This is a huge difference from my time in a Japanese university, when I was constantly worried by students saying “Professor, please let me skip class to hunt for a job.” Rather, these last few years have seen unemployment rates of less than 1%, leaving us with a shortage of students. This has led to green harvesting beginning here as well, but the main culprits are Japanese companies. It’s enough to really make you think.

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Japanese companies in Thailand, and particularly Japanese employers of medium and smaller sized companies often say “Thai employees don’t stay long.” In a world where career change is entirely natural, it’s backwards to complain about this. I think Japanese companies need to create a system where work continues unchanged even as personnel change, like the U.S. and European companies use. There has been a lot of noise about the internationalization of Japanese education; now Japan needs to internationalize its industries as well.

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  • Tatsuji Seki
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After retiring from Osaka University, I worked for seven years as the head of Osaka University Bangkok Center for Education and Research (currently, Osaka University ASEAN Center for Academic Initiatives). From May 2014, I have been working at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi where the students call me, “Grandfather.” Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is a subject on Thailand you would like to know about.

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