Fast Retailing goes global in search for interns
Uniqlo parent's approach may spur change in Japanese hiring process
TOKYO -- Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo clothing chain, will launch an internship program covering 16 markets in an effort to secure international talent for its global operations.
More than 100 interns will work at Fast Retailing's main offices in Japan, China, the U.K. and elsewhere for one- to three-month periods. They will populate nearly every division, including research and development, marketing, information technology, and corporate social responsibility.
The program will take in current students at colleges, junior colleges, graduate schools and vocational schools, as well as graduates within the previous three years. Plans call for selecting 50-plus people both in Japan and abroad.
Working hours will be flexible, with interns receiving hourly pay of around 1,000 yen ($8.86). Fast Retailing will start taking applications in Japan on Friday. Candidates that pass resume checks and interviews will begin working in April.
The program will expand outside of Japan in stages. Interns that excel at their positions may be hired as full-fledged employees at the request of direct supervisors.
Currently, Fast Retailing sends college students in Japan to overseas locations for roughly one week, or candidates being considered for employment come into the office for one- or two-day trials.
While interns in Western countries typically put in stints of more than one month, Japanese internships typically last from one to a few days. In addition, employers are asked by the government and the Japan Business Federation to not associate internships with hiring. This move by Fast Retailing, which is not a member of the business lobby, may lead to a reassessment of the Japanese hiring process.