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Until now, most of the firm's engineers secured their employment partly because of recommendations from university and graduate school laboratories. Image Credit: Supplied

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to abolish its school recommendation-based hiring of new science and engineering degree holders from universities and graduate schools, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. The move is expected to make it easier for any student with a technical background to get a job at the automaker.

Toyota will integrate the hiring process into a method it has adopted for its clerical and other non-engineering jobs, according to a written statement sent by the carmaker to universities nationwide this month.

The automaker is to begin hiring such students on track to graduate in the spring of 2022. With the car industry going through a period of massive change partly brought on by the current development of self-driving and electric vehicles, Toyota intends to increase its competitiveness by expanding its selection criteria for new hires, according to the statement, observers said.

In April this year, Toyota hired about 1,200 people, including high school graduates. About 30% of those hired were degree holders from universities and graduate schools and were allocated work in engineering-related fields.

Most of the firm's engineers secured their employment partly because of recommendations from university and graduate school laboratories. Only a few were hired without a recommendation from their schools.

Toyota will recruit more students with knowledge and skills outside of automobile-related industries from 2022, following the integration of its hiring process.

Toyota aims to strengthen the development of next-generation technologies, such as autonomous driving, in a bid to open new fields in its business, the observers said.

"We're making this change to become a company that students want to choose," a Toyota official said. "Diverse human resources are essential, which will lead to changes in the consciousness of employees within the company."

Major carmakers, electronics and heavy industry firms among other manufacturers tend to place importance on school recommendations to ensure that they hire students with sound science and reliable engineering training.

"We fill technical positions with students who have science and engineering backgrounds and recommendations from their schools," an official of an electronics manufacturer said. "While taking account of what they studied and researched at school, we make the decision as to where they are to be assigned."

The way in which the nation's auto giant has chosen to review its hiring practices will likely impact recruitment methods seen in other firms, the observers said.

Toyota has also announced that it is transforming itself into a "mobility company" that will support a wide range of mobility industries beyond the framework of the car industry.

The carmaker has been announcing a series of partnerships with companies in such fields as electronics and telecommunications, transcending its traditional business-sector boundaries.

With the construction of a "smart city," dubbed Woven City, to begin in Shizuoka Prefecture in February, Toyota is rapidly expanding its business domain.