Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Locust of the New Financial Year - the New Hires

The Japanese financial year ends on March 31st and the new one starts the day after (odd, huh?), and the school year follows the same pattern with the new school year starting in the beginning of April. So from this perspective the Japanese system works quite differently from the West where this is coordinated with the end of the year in December and then the second semester starting six months later.

What happens is that the larger Japanese companies have huge hiring events for the new university graduates and hire them en-masse at the same time with huge ceremonies and plenty of training. Now, Japanese larger traditional companies do not necessarily hire new graduates for specific positions since it is widely known that Japanese kids don't learn anything at the university at all, unless they happen to have a Masters or Ph.D. degree. So the companies take care of the training and sort the kids for jobs as they see fit after tests, training etc.

During this time of year they are everywhere and are very easily recognized due to the cheap looking suits; dark suits for both the boys and the girls with white shirts/blouses and discreet neckties for the boys. Sometimes they are seen with some older employee herding them around and they look half-scared to death and focused on behaving like responsible adults. At other times they can be encountered without their keepers, on their home from some company arranged event where they let their hair down and behave a bit more rowdy; reminding me more of high school kids in awkward looking suits than anything else.

This will calm down very soon as they get more settled down in their companies, have to take the manner classes to learn how to answer the phone properly and behave like regular people (ok, Japanese business manners do take some time to learn properly, even for most Japanese kids with university degrees).

The hordes of new employees doesn't really annoy me per se, since it's over pretty quickly and they face into the companies that hired them, but it can be a bit annoying since it can be hard to just drop into a nice looking izakaya since they're fully booked up with welcome parties for the new hires.

Seeing them awkwardly standing around outside an office, waiting for their Shepperd reminds me of baby penguins standing around waiting for their masters to bring them scraps of food...

My little company has gone around this whole issue and just hire new people with previous experience, saving us the trouble of having year long training programs inside the company and getting people who actually know how to behave themselves!


Andy said...

Don't forget the khaki trench-coat. No junior salarywoman would leave home without one!

ThePenguin said...

> The Japanese financial year ends on March 31st and the new one starts the day after (odd, huh?),

Well if it didn't start the day after, there'd be a sort of financial vacuum? Hah. But I see what you mean. Though in the UK the tax year begins and ends in April, so that's one more myth of Japanese uniqueness to knock off the chart.

Meanwhile you should try living near a university at this time of year; the streets and izakayas of Takadanobaba are heaving with pichipichi fresh meat following senpai bearing signs announcing they are all members of the "Flying Club" or "Pigeon Fanciers Association" or whatever.

Nice picture, BTW.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Andy - Oh yes, the khaki trenchcoats, of course!

Penguin - Well, there you go! That's probably what the Japanese modeled their financial year after. I learnt something today, from YOU of all people... And yes, I thought you would enjoy the picture of the naked child penguins you chickenhawk you!

aimlesswanderer said...

The newbies spend an entire year to train to be marginally useful drones? What a farce, why go to uni at all? Is it just for the prestige of having the piece of paper, or is it the "party time" between the Hell of Japanese high school and the mind numbing corporate world?

Do Japanese unis have good reputations overseas?

Mr. Salaryman said...

Aimless - Well, university is more considered as the "break" between the serious hard work in high-school and then the harsh reality of starting working, so yep, your guess is right.

Also, the Japanese university system is more general than special (as in Europe) and in my European eyes, it's almost more of an extension of high school than real "university" until you hit the masters or PhD levels. Without having any deeper knowledge into the subject, I think that the US system is quite similar?

aimlesswanderer said...

I have no idea about the US system, but the Australian system is, I guess, more specialised.

I could have done nothing but commerce/economics subjects and gotten my degree. Though there were 1 basic statistics and 1 computing subjects.

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