The Yomiuri ShimbunAs part of its regional vitalization efforts, the government plans to launch a new system this autumn to encourage mid-level employees in and around their 40s who work in major cities to take jobs in regional areas.
The program will feature a six-month trial period in which participants study at regional universities while working at area companies. This period is aimed at easing any anxieties people may have about taking jobs in regional areas.
The new system will be run mainly through Japan Human Resources (see below), a government-affiliated job referral company.
Amid concerns about an overconcentration of human resources in major cities, regional companies have a strong need for experienced mid-level employees with immediately applicable skills and executive potential. The program is intended to encourage such employees to change jobs.
JHR already runs a government-associated employment website for mid-level employees who work in major cities to take jobs in regional areas. However, people who are interested sometimes do not follow through. The trial period was designed with these people in mind.
The program is expected to launch in fiscal 2019 at universities in two prefectures, including Shinshu University in Nagano Prefecture, as well as several companies located relatively near to the universities.
The program has yet to decide on a set employment quota. Going forward, the government intends to expand the municipalities involved and the number of positions available.
This autumn, JHR and regional companies plan to recruit interested candidates for interviews and other screening. Successful candidates will start studying at regional universities and working at nearby companies within the fiscal year.
During the trial period, they will spend one or two days per week systematically learning about management support, local vitalization and other topics. The remaining three or four days will be spent as a subcontractor at a local company working on solving management issues, generating new sales channels and other tasks.
The company will pay a monthly stipend of ¥300,000 during the six months, as well as any tuition and other fees for universities. The employee does not have to quit their original job, but instead can take on a leave of absence.
Once the participant decides whether they truly want to work in the area, they will officially change jobs. The government also will consider asking qualified employees to teach subjects such as corporate practices at regional universities.
In fiscal 2018, JHR and Shinshu University conducted a feasibility test of the program. Nine people worked on a trial basis at eight companies in Nagano Prefecture while studying at Shinshu University.
Of this number, eight have continued working as subcontractors or have since become regular employees.
■ Japan Human Resources
A corporation established by the government in August 2015 to assist in regional vitalization. It seeks to supply regional companies with human resources by introducing or dispatching qualified employees. It is 100 percent funded by the Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation of Japan, a public-private fund involved in helping regional companies rebuild their businesses.Speech