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Backing Employees of SMEs (STORY 2 Support for Small Businesses and Promotion of Local Attractions)

The president of Nexas Wing, an IT company in Tokyo that was having a hard time hiring reports, "The two women we hired through Rikunabi Direct have been a welcome addition, winning plaudits from our clients right from the start".

■Support to closely meet job seekers' needs

Small and medium-sized enterprises with 300 or fewer employees account for 99.7% of all companies in Japan.*1 Moreover, the average ratio of job offers to seekers for graduating university students is extremely high at SMEs, with 4.16 offers per applicant, against an overall ratio of 1.74 for students expecting to graduate in 2017.*2 A major challenge facing SMEs is that their name recognition is lower than that of major corporations and they find it more difficult to secure staff.
Some SME owners have had no choice but to shut down their businesses for a lack of a successor or due to the difficulty of securing young workers. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among those aged 15 to 24 in Japan is high, at 4.8%.*3 For many years SMEs have been struggling with the dilemma of wanting to hire young people but not being able to attract them due to their lower name recognition.

1 Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, 2016 White Paper on Small and Medium Enterprises in Japan.
2 Recruit Works Institute survey of ratio of job offers to job seekers for students graduating in 2017.
3 Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, preliminary results of the Labor Force Survey, July 2016.

■Supporting SMEs boosts employment

The Rikunabi (Recruit Navigation) Direct service that provides SME job information was overhauled in 2015 with a revamp of its system to help young people find potential employers̶companies that they did not know about previously̶matching their own personal attributes. The service has posted information on around 12,000 SMEs seeking employees, thereby helping to match these companies with young job seekers.
Young job seekers report that they were happy to learn about SMEs that they would not have been able to find on their own. Through this service we will to continue to help connect job seekers and job hunters, promoting employment and assisting both SMEs and young people to achieve growth.

■ Changing Japan's future through the nursing-care sector

The nursing-care industry is another sector faced with obstacles to business continuity resulting from the shortfall in human resources and the difficulty of retaining employees. With Japan's aging population reaching a level unprecedented in the world, the country is expected to require around 2.53 million nursing-care staff by 2025, which is an increase of roughly 900,000 over the current level.*4 Although around 246,000 people are entering the nursing-care profession every year, around 224,000 of them end up leaving the industry, making it difficult for the overall number of staff to rise.
We launched the Helpman Japan project to help resolve the labor shortage in the nursing-care industry by fostering the recruitment and retention of employees. The project stimulates job seekers' interest by showcasing young people who are working enthusiastically in the industry, while also developing and administering training programs to reduce the high attrition rate among nursing-care staff. Among the 250 nursing-care workers who took part in the 2014 training sessions, 97% were still working in the industry a year later̶far higher than the overall industry average, which is 66.1% for the one-year retention of newly hired staff.
The Helpman Japan initiative aims to create a system for attracting job seekers to the nursing-care industry by diffusing information and supporting hiring efforts, while also conducting training programs to lower the attrition rate among staff to keep them within the industry. In these ways, the initiative seeks to contribute to expanding the nursingcare workforce.

4 Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, Nursing-Care Human Resources Supply and Demand Projections to 2025.

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