RealTime IT News

NEC Readies Japanese Online Job Mall

NEC Corp., in cooperation with two small Tokyo-based firms, will next week launch an Internet-based staffing and employment service.

The new job mall, to be hosted on NEC's Biglobe Internet portal site, will initially cover employment opportunities in the Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya areas.

Partnering with NEC in the venture are Opinion, an employment-related publishing and consulting firm, and system development start-up F.A.I.

NEC's Web job mall will encompass two service components: a manpower dispatch (temporary staffing agency) service that will launch on February 15, and a job search/job vacancy information coordination service that will open two weeks later on March 1. Additional services, such as e-magazine job alerts and online consultation and aptitude testing, may be added later.

The manpower dispatch service, known as LAVORO, will assist recruiters and job seekers by maintaining a central database of registered candidates, including their skills and work preferences.

It will thus enable small and mid-size staffing agencies to take advantage of the Internet for finding job candidates -- something that so far has been the province of just a few major recruitment firms.

With the recent liberalization of a national law that regulated the employment of part-time and so-called "temporary" workers, the hiring of such employees through personnel services agencies is expected to grow dramatically.

"Until December 1999, the dispatch of temporary staff was restricted to 26 defined categories," said Opinion CEO Kazuo Miura. "But now that the law has been revised, almost any type of worker can be dispatched."

Miura estimates that while there were roughly 860,000 "temp" workers dispatched by some 1500 staffing agencies just before the regulations were eased, the number of such workers "has probably grown to over 1 million already this year. It is these persons, and the agencies that dispatch them, who are our targets."

The partners reportedly hope to sign at least 100 staffing agencies for their online service within the next two years. These agencies will pay a service sign-up fee of 700,000 yen (US$6,540), and a monthly fee starting from 198,000 yen (US$1,850) for up to 30 listings.

For an extra fee, participating agencies can make their listings available to i-mode mobile phone users.

Job searchers will be able to use NEC's job mall services for free.

NEC has set a third-year revenue target for the service of 2.5 billion yen (US$23 million). The company said its aim is to register a total of 2.5 million job seekers within the next two years.