More Japanese Firms Offer Mid-Career Internship Program

March 28, 20189:47 am
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Adult internship program is on the rise. In Japan, more companies are offering mid-career internship initiative where participants can work at firms other than their own for a temporary period. Participants will benefit from the program to improve their skills while using the experience to pursue a new job. Meanwhile, the companies that offer these programs will also gain an opportunity to obtain knowledge from outside their human workforce and hire exceptional employees from the internship.

Among the firms that conduct the initiative is CyberAgent, Inc., a major online advertising company. On a Saturday in mid-February, it opened an internship program for working adults at its headquarters in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo. About 30 employees mostly in their 20s and 30s who spend their weekdays working for IT firms and manufacturers took part in the program. They were divided into groups of four and tasked to jot down advertising strategies for automobiles and apparel businesses.

“I could get a good grasp of what the company is like,” said a 24-year-old woman who works for a major consulting firm in Tokyo. “This was a new experience for me.”

Only a limited number of companies offered internship programs for working adults before February, when Recruit Career Co. introduced the new business that lifted interest in such internship programs. Typically, the major human resources provider will act as the mediator between employees who want to join the programs and companies that are willing to accept them.

So far, there has been about 30,000 people registered in the system, with about 40 companies, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., use the system to accept candidates. Participants are required to take part in job experience programs on weekday evenings and on holidays at the companies that accept them.

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Given that many Japanese companies do not allow their employees to have side hustle or part-time jobs, internship partakers categorise this program as going to study meetings. Owing to this reason, in many cases they do not get paid for the work they do as interns, The Japan News reports.

From the program, participants can learn about jobs they have never done before and use the experience when they plan to make a career change or move. On the other hand, jobseekers can learn more about feel of the company and the content of a job by working there as an intern. Such experience can help them know what to expect after fully joining the team.

Companies hope that by accepting interns, they can hear opinions from various kinds of people other than their own employees and thus utilise the feedbacks for business. Firms can also observe the interns’ skills and abilities before hiring them as new permanent employees.

The data showed that there were 3.06 million people who switched jobs in 2016, exceeding the 3 million mark for the first time since 2009, when 3.2 million people did so. Due to a labor shortage and positive business performance, many companies have become active in mid-career recruiting, including the rise of internship programs for adult workers.

Earlier this month, recent report compiled by an expert panel of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry suggested that the experience of a different organisational culture could play part in building new careers in the future after transferring to different departments and changing jobs.

“More people will think about their future careers and plan a job change in light of their experience of working at other companies,” said Koichiro Kabata of Recruit Career.

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