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Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010

Students want jobs at ANA, traders, Shiseido


Staff writer

As student job seekers struggle amid the worst employment situation in years, All Nippon Airways topped their list of sought-after employers for a second year, while troubled Japan Airlines fell to 52nd place, according to a recent survey conducted by a major job-hunting Web site.

News photo
Whatever works: Students attend a recruiting event at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward last July. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

"Students seem to have been influenced by the recent news (of JAL's pending bankruptcy)," said Misako Kanamori, a Rakuten Inc. spokeswoman.

The survey was conducted on student job hunters registered at the online shopping mall's job information Web site.

"In the categories of work environment, product image and potential for the company's development, JAL was more than 10 points behind ANA," Kanamori said, noting JAL was in the top 10 in last year's survey, while ANA was first.

According to Kanamori, the two airlines have consistently registered high rankings over the years, particularly among females, because of their global image and the overseas travel opportunities they provide.

The airlines' continued popularity belies a somewhat harsher reality: since the mid-1990s, airlines have been hiring cabin attendants on contracts rather than as permanent full-time employees, creating a less stable career than other employers.

"Many students still have the old image and feel that the airline sector is very good. Some are not really aware of the employment conditions or pay rate, and even if they were, some may not really know the difference between full-time and contractual," Kanamori said.

The survey, conducted between last October and December, asked 5,703 student job hunters due to graduate in 2011 and registered on Minna no Shushoku Katsudo Nikki (Everyone's Job-Hunting Diary) to choose five employers they most want to work for out of a list of 600. For each chosen firm they were asked to say whether the main attraction was in the job, employment conditions, recruiting methods, the contribution they could make to society as an employee, or the company itself.

Everyone's Job-Hunting Diary is a Web site where student job seekers can exchange information. With notice boards for more than 20,000 companies and 6.83 million postings, it is one of the biggest of its kind in Japan.

ANA was followed in the rankings by trading houses Itochu Co. and Mitsui & Co., while cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. ranked fourth and Oriental Land Co., operator of the Disney theme parks, came in fifth.

The rate at which university students are receiving informal employment promises to start work as soon as they graduate, called "naitei," has been falling over the last three years, according to the government. The rate was 73.1 percent last month, 7.4 points lower than the same time last year for the biggest drop since the poll started in 1996, the government said.

A surprising survey finding was the high ratings banks received, according to Kanamori.

Despite the difficulties and bad public image financial institutions have faced since the global financial crisis hit, students have retained faith and confidence in large domestic banks, she said.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. placed sixth and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Co. 10th. Although Mizuho Financial Group Inc. ranked 39th, it topped the students' assessment of which company would provide employees with the most useful skills, followed by Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui.

"When we surveyed students in November 2008, asking them whether the state of the economy has affected their job hunting, 70 (percent) to 80 percent said yes. But it seems that they don't necessarily equate the financial crisis with banks. In fact they feel the large banks will provide stability and useful skills," Kanamori said.

No foreign banks made it into the top 100.

Meanwhile, food makers and producers of other basic consumer goods have proved popular this year, as job seekers yearn for stable employment in a turbulent labor market.

"This year food makers are particularly strong. They are known to be strong in recessions, because everyone has to eat," Kanamori said.

Beverage producer Suntory Holdings Ltd. placed seventh, while confectioner Meiji Seika Kaisha Ltd. ranked 11th and seasonings maker Ajinomoto Co. 16th.

The popularity of Shiseido reflected the job seekers' belief that sales of cosmetics are also relatively unaffected by recession.

Trading houses such as Itochu and Mitsui ranked high again this year due to the opportunities to travel abroad and the prospect of stable employment, Kanamori said.



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