On May 17 the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) released the results of a survey of the employment conditions, as of April 1, 2013, of students who graduated from universities and other institutes of higher education in March 2013. (The Japanese school year begins in April and ends in March of the following year.) The survey, which was conducted jointly with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), covered 6,250 graduates of 112 universities, junior colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools nationwide.
The survey revealed that the employment rate of new university graduates was 93.9%, up 0.3 percentage points over the same date in the previous year and an improvement for the second consecutive year. The employment ratio was down 1.3 points to 93.2% for male graduates and up 2.1 points to 94.7% for female graduates, meaning that the ratio of male graduates finding jobs fell below the corresponding ratio for female graduates for the first time in five years.
In the case of junior colleges, the employment ratio for all graduates rose 5.2 points to 94.7%, the highest level since the survey began in fiscal 1996. The employment ratio was 100% for technical colleges (men only), the same as last year, and 94.1% for vocational schools, up 0.9 points.
Meanwhile, the employment ratio for senior high school graduates (as of the end of March), announced on the same day, rose 1.0 points to 95.8%, an improvement for the third consecutive year and the highest level in 20 years since March 1993.
Regarding the fact that, among university graduates, the employment ratio for males had fallen below that of females, the MHLW and MEXT pointed out that while the number of job offers in the fields of medicine and welfare, which attract many women, had increased, the number of job offers in manufacturing, which attracts many men, had decreased. They also suggested that the overall employment ratio had been boosted by a recovery of job offers by companies that had been holding back on recruitment following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and subsequent financial crisis.
According to estimates by the MHLW, this year there were about 394,000 university graduates hoping to find jobs. Of them, about 370,000 graduates had found jobs, but about 24,000 were still looking. In response to this situation, the MHLW's policy is to make efforts to provide intensive individual assistance up to the end of June so as to further improve the employment environment.