A record 98% of recent university graduates obtained employment at the beginning of this fiscal year, government data showed on Friday, reflecting a recovering economy.
The employment rate of job-seeking graduates increased 0.4 percentage points from the previous year, for the seventh consecutive year, in an annual survey conducted since 1997 by the labor and education ministries.
Helped by the growing appetite of companies for recruitment, the rate of university students The search for jobs also increased to 75.3 percent, the highest recorded.
An official of the Ministry of Labor attributed the increases to an economic change that gave students more opportunities to apply for positions that match their preferences.
The employment rate among new high school graduates who looked for work at the end of March rose 0.1 percentage points to 98.1 percent for the eighth consecutive year.
"The improved collaboration between Hello Work (public employment placement offices) and universities or secondary schools, as well as better professional education, have contributed to the solid figures," Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told a press conference.
The employment rate of university graduates who specialized in humanities increased 0.9 percentage points to 98.2 percent, while that of those who specialized in science-related fields fell 1.5 percentage points to 97.2 percent. It was the first time that the number of science students fell below that of the older humanities.
The Labor Ministry official said that there could be more science graduates who were willing to defer employment to obtain the qualifications required by their preference companies.
With around 8,200 new university graduates estimated to remain unemployed, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said it will continue to support their efforts to secure employment.
Twenty-four nationals and public universities and 38 private universities were selected for the survey that covered some 4,800 students. Each university interviewed students to track their employment status.
The employment rate of new college graduates recovered from a record low of 91 percent in the spring of 2011, weeks after the tsunami disaster and the March earthquake in northeastern Japan.
In a separate survey that covered all high school students in Japan, about 188,000 students searched for jobs of about 1,061,000 students.
The seller's market is expected to continue this fiscal year on the back of labor shortages, with the exception of some industries such as major banks, which have decided to reduce new hires, according to experts.
According to Recruit Career Co., the proportion of students who obtained informal job offers for the next fiscal year was around 43 percent from May 1, up 7.7 percentage points from the previous year.