College students in Japan will no doubt be pleased to hear that the number of pupils leaving higher education and getting into work has increased.
The employment rate for graduates who left college in March stood at 93.9 per cent, which represents a 0.3 per cent increase over a 12-month period.
It seems that prospects for young women in Japan are more favourable than for their male counterparts however. The statistics issued by the government showed that the employment rate for female graduates rose by 2.1 percentage points to stand at 94.7 per cent. This is compared to male students who had a 93.2 per cent employment rate upon leaving college, which was 1.3 per cent fall on the same period last year.
While this overall increase in jobs is a positive sign for the economy, the rate remains three points below the highest level reached in 2008 prior to the global recession.
A labour ministry official was quoted by the Japan Times as saying: "Companies are resuming job offers, while joint efforts by colleges and Hello Work job-placement offices to help students find jobs have had positive effects."
The statistics suggest female Japanese graduates are doing well in the job market; there is a suggestion that the employment market for women who have had children is not as healthy.
Some 70 per cent of women in Japan give up work once they have had their first child, which compares to just one third of those who live in the US.
Overall, some 34 per cent of women with children under six work, which compares to 55 per cent of mothers in the UK, 61 per cent in the US, 53 per cent in Germany and 76 per cent in Sweden.
The BBC quotes Kathy Matsui, the author of Womenomics: Japan's Hidden Asset, who has suggested that getting women back into work once they have had children should be a "national priority" for Japan.
By doing so, she argues, Japan could add up to 15 per cent to it's country's GDP.
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