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Third of Japan's

new graduate recruits

thinking of changing jobs

within five years

By Magdalena Osumi for the Japan Times

In a break with Japan’s tradition of lifetime employment, at least 1 in 3 new graduate recruits are considering leaving their jobs within five years, and only 1 in 5 treat their employment as being a lifetime role, a recent study conducted by the operator of a recruitment website has shown.

“We surveyed young people on the premise that many of them see switching jobs as a positive move in their lives, as this tendency has been seen in some other studies, and we can say the results of our survey have confirmed it,” a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Mynavi Corp. said in a phone interview Friday.

The results, released Thursday, showed that nearly half of the respondents were considering changing their jobs within 10 years, with 22.2 percent thinking about such a move within three years and another 14.9 percent planning a change within four or five years.

Only 7.6 percent said they were planning to spend more than 10 years in their current workplaces before seeking a new opportunity. The proportion that said they are considering working at their current companies until retirement stood at 21.8 percent.

The survey was conducted online in early May, and sought responses from 800 women and men aged 22 and 23 who started new jobs in April right after graduating from college.

In a multiple-choice question about reasons for not planning to stay with their companies for longer periods, 44.4 percent said they were planning to adjust their work styles to different stages of their lives.

Nearly 30 percent also said that different job experiences would help them build their careers, while another 29 percent stressed that they wanted to gain experience at different companies.

“(The results show that) young people now think of job opportunities in a flexible way,” the spokeswoman said.

She said many young people apparently see their first job as a step on their career ladder.

“And then they want to decide how to use their knowledge and experience,” she said.

The spokeswoman also said the findings showed that young people tend to make their career decisions with consideration of whether the workplace will allow them to balance their jobs with marriage and child-rearing.

“Young people today seem to be carefully weighing (the pros and cons) of their job opportunities,” she said.