Employment market critically short of young blood

March 17, 2021 | 09:00
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Sparked by the recovering economy and a positive vaccine outlook, domestic and foreign-invested companies in Vietnam are thirsty for new labourers yet are struggling to attract the required numbers.
1535 p22 employment market critically short of young blood
Employment market critically short of young blood, illustration photo

Pham Van Tuan, a recruitment agent at Foxconn in Bac Giang province told VIR that the company currently faces difficulties in recruiting labourers – a problem that does not only affect newly-established manufacturers but also existing ones with plans to expand operations.

Tuan said that although his company is well known and offers a competitive salary, it faces tremendous hurdles in enlisting a large workforce, especially skilled workers. For example, the company would like to send 500-700 people to Nanning – the capital of Guangxi province in China – to join a six-month training course.

“Workers who are extra-trained oversea will be paid a much higher salary and they may become team leaders after coming back to Vietnam. However, many seem to be reluctant about this opportunity as they are concerned about the pandemic and do not want to be away from home for a long time,” Tuan said.

“At first, we issued the criterion that candidates must have either a university or associate decree but failed to collect enough candidates. Even after removing this requirement, we have just received a small number of applications,” he added.

Meanwhile, even recruiting unskilled workers remains a challenge for enterprises. According to Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, a recruiter at Fuhong Precision Component Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Foxconn, the company has the demand for around 10,000 labourers to serve its expansion plans.

“To attract enough people, the company cooperated with job service centres in Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces and also organised job festivals. Besides this, Fuhong deployed large-scale information campaigns around its headquarters while simultaneously issuing this information on social networks – all of which included an attractive salary offer. However, until now, we have not received enough interest,” Huyen said.

Recruitment issues like these come during a time when nearly 60 per cent of Vietnam’s employers have plans to recruit more workers despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Vietnam’s 2021 Employment Outlook survey.

The survey showed that the outlook is very positive, with up to 66 per cent of employers expecting their recruitment plans to increase within the next three months, followed by 22 per cent foreseeing such plans for the next six months.

Nguyen Dinh Nam, founder and CEO of investment consultancy IPA Vietnam, told VIR that investors in the manufacturing and processing sector will start to look for labourers after they finish administrative procedures and start construction of their facilities. Previously, recruitment often took 25-30 per cent of the time needed for setting up manufacturing and trading operations, but in recent years, this rate has gone up to 40-50 per cent.

“The increase of foreign investment capital and the development of local manufacturing and service enterprises have led to this soaring demand for labour. Almost all unskilled labourers are lured towards large groups such as Samsung and LG,” Nam said.

“Besides that, the deficiency of labour is even more serious at the senior level as the majority wants to work in large cities instead of their hometowns or in remote provinces,” he added.

Being aware of these difficulties, the 13th National Party Congress’ resolution clarified that human resources development continues to be one of three major strategies to realise the country’s socioeconomic development targets until 2025.

The resolution mentioned that it is necessary to promote human resources development, including a high-quality workforce. It must be a priority to comprehensively improve the education sector’s quality by building incentive policies for talented people. In addition, the role and application of science and technology must be enhanced.

Quang Ninh in the north is one of the pioneering provinces that has been focusing on increasing its human resources. In the last six years, the province allocated VND806 billion ($35 million) from its budget to invest and upgrade education and training facilities. For example, the province poured VND480.2 million ($21,000) in materials and facilities for Halong University. In addition, the province will continue to invest VND544.5 million ($23,500) for the project’s second phase, which is to be implemented until 2025.

Like Quang Ninh, other cities and provinces are proactively preparing their workforces to call for investment projects. In a recent working session with a representative of Foxconn Singapore, which has plans to develop a $1.3-billion project to produce electronic parts for Apple in the central province of Thanh Hoa, Do Minh Tuan, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said, “It is a large-scale project and Thanh Hoa has prepared its human resources and infrastructure to welcome the project.”

By Oanh Nguyen

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