The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Campus Now > Career Compass -Eagerness, Aptitude, and Human Relations. All Are Tested in Job Hunting Activities. : Early Spring Issue (Apr.)

Campus Now

Early Spring Issue (Apr.)

Career Compass -Students and Their Career Path>

While at university, strengthen your ability for surviving in global society

Yukio Okubo
Director, Recruit Works Institute

In this article “Career Compass,” we hear the latest job-hunting information and how they generally perceive involvement in job-hunting from people in charge of recruitment.
In this edition we talked with Mr. Okubo, Director of Recruit Works Institute, a research institute focusing on people and organizations. Mr. Okubo discussed attributes required of corporate employees in the future and how he spent his time as a student.

Global or local?

During the 4 years spent at university, students can prepare for their job search by refining the fundamental skills needed as a working professional. Except for part-time jobs, university students don’t have any work experience. As a result, the extent to which students can imagine their performance in the workplace is limited. Moreover, people’s feelings change when they are in their 20s and 30s, and the object of their interest will also change. Therefore, it is best to take a wide view of one’s own possibilities. It is said that the average person decides upon continuing a certain type of life work once they reach the age of about 40. Furthermore, the current lifespan of listed companies is about 40 years and the career-change market is expanding. This means that only a minority of people will spend their entire life working at the company which they enter after graduating from university.

If the Japanese population continues to decline in the future, we cannot expect economic growth like in the past. Therefore, corporations must enter overseas markets in order to survive. It will become common to have overseas customers and foreign coworkers, and all corporations will be globalized. Students need to start by fixing this reality foremost in their mind. Conversely, there are also people who will remain in the region where they were born in raised. Such people will work by establishing roots in the local community and constructing a network. I believe that students will ultimately have to choose between global or local. However, there is no need to decide immediately. Still, at some point, it will be necessary to strengthen one’s resolve.

Time pressure and diversity pressure

Many students at Waseda University are considering employment at a global corporation. Global businesses seek two things from their employees. The first is the ability to deal with time pressure. Global business continues to move 24 hours a day, so conditions may change overnight. Corporations seek employees with the ability to quickly adapt to such changes. Employees must have the stamina to travel around the world without any problems and they must be able to think and take action while on the move. If students spend their time at university doing nothing, it is only natural that they will be unable to adapt to such a busy environment.

The second condition is the ability to deal with diversity pressure. At global corporations, you will work together with people who have different culture and values. During life at university, students are prone to associating only with similar people. Instead, it is best to experience achieving something together with people who have a different background. For example, associate with students from other universities, people from different age groups or foreigners. There are many foreign students at Waseda University, so a great chance for diversity is right in front of your eyes. I hope that you will spend an active 4 years and become an adult capable of dealing with time pressure and diversity pressure. Whatever you do, don’t simply spend your time at university going back and forth between your home, the campus and your part-time job. Incidentally, even if you decide to work locally, these two pressures will arise once you assume a leadership role.

The four years at university is an important period in life

To talk a little bit about myself, I was very shy in high school and really disliked talking in front of other people. However, upon entering university, I decided to change myself and entered the rakugo (Japanese standup comedy) society. This allowed me to overcome my shyness and is now a great personal asset. Time spent at university is a chance for you to change. The more action you take, the more your horizons will expand and the more you can change.

For parents, university is an important period during which they separate from their children. The role of parents is to ensure that their children become independent adults. The 4 years spent at university is the first step towards independence. If parents don’t separate from their children, then it will become difficult for children to find employment. The 4 years at university is an important period for both students and parent. I hope that you will spend your time at university without regret.

From the Career Center
While at university, acquire experiences and work to change yourself

When it becomes time to start searching for employment, many students attend preparatory schools for job-hunting. Of course, it is necessary to know how to sell yourself to a certain extent. However, corporations are most interested in the experience and corresponding ability gained while studying at university. In this respect, the experiences during student life recommended by Mr. Okubo will be a great advantage when searching for employment. By thoroughly acquiring such experience and attending job-hunting seminars at the Career Center, you will have a decisive advantage when searching for employment.

Yukio Okubo
Director, Recruit Works Institute

Graduated from the Department of Economics, Hitotsubashi University in 1983, entering employment at Recruit Co., Ltd. in the same year. Served in positions such as Director of Planning Office, Comprehensive Staffing Department and Manager of the Regional Development Department. In 1999, founded Recruit Works Institute and became the first institute Director. Has also served as Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office from 2010. In 2011, appointed as Senior Officer. Written works include Introduction to Career Design: Vol. 1 & 2 (Nikkei Publishing Inc.) and Growth after 30 Years Old!-Refining Fundamental Abilities (PHP Business Shinsho)

Recruit Works Institute
Founded in 1999. Within Recruit Co., Ltd., a research institute focusing on people and organizations. Operates under the mission of “creating a next-generation society in which each person can actively work.” To achieve this mission, conducts research activities, implements surveys and transmits information on themes such as careers and the ideal form of the next-generation labor market.