Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in Vietnam have always needed to recruit employees with skills, experience, foreign languages, and industrial working styles. But according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, while the country’s population is in a golden era, the number of skilled and qualified workers remains low, at 26 per cent.
|Returning workers yearn for new support, photo Duc Thanh |
This is deemed problematic for a country that is the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the region.
“I graduated from Hanoi University of Industry in 2008 and went to Japan for three years. At the time, it was not a popular option for graduates, so I just worked as an intern in Japan. Thanks to the effort to improve my capacity and language, I got a good job with a high salary in a Japanese-invested group when I went back home,” said Nguyen Tien Thu, an engineer at Sumitomo Group.
“However, I see that there is still a lack of connection between recruitment and people needing jobs. Besides that, many people do not want to return to Vietnam after many years of working overseas, so there needs to have an attractive policy to encourage these people to come back.”
According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, less than 30 per cent of about 200,000 Vietnamese technical interns studying in Japan at the end of last year found a job when they returned home. “This is a waste of human resources experience, not meeting the original purpose of the technical intern programme, which is to transfer skills,” the agency has stated.
Skilled and unskilled workers in Vietnam have been sent abroad in large numbers over the years, with Japan being the largest single destination. There are approximately 450 organisations and enterprises providing services to send workers abroad, with over $3 billion being sent back to Vietnam in remittances each year.
After gaining experience overseas, some workers are able to return home and contribute to offsetting the shortage of skilled employees, particularly in FIEs.
Nguyen Vinh Ha, director of Akatsuki Labour Export Centre in Hanoi told VIR, “Many candidates who graduated from university and colleges are applying to work in Japan. Our partner in Japan’s demand for recruiting skilled labourers is also increasing.”
“The opportunity to work in Japan is a precious experience for them to improve their skills and language skill so that when they return, they will be offered a good job with attractive payment compared to the salary paid for fresh graduates that only have certificates.” Ha said. “With experience in working in the labour export sector for many years, the salary of engineers returning to Vietnam is at least double compared to the payments for engineers without experience overseas.”
Nguyen Xuan Lanh, deputy general director of Esuhai Company in Ho Chi Minh City, said that the enterprise has sent more than 12,000 Vietnamese technicians, engineers, and graduates to work abroad over the past 16 years.
Lanh said that training was given before leaving the country to improve workers’ abilities. When they go to the host country, they can study and prepare to find a job on their own after returning home.
“Every month, Esuhai welcomes about 200 workers back to the country. The company also provides recruitment information for many domestic enterprises for employees. The rate of those needing to apply for a job through us is no more than 10 per cent as the rest have found jobs themselves before they return home,” he said.
Dang Huy Hong, director of the Centre of Overseas Labour, said that the workers who went to work abroad under the Employment Permit System and interns who went to Japan for technical internships under the Japan International Human Resource Development Organisation programme are appreciated after returning home.
“This is because of their professional experience, foreign language proficiency, professional working style, and ability to grasp jobs quickly,” Hong said. “Job opportunities for these types of workers at FIEs are very open.”
Tran Van Anh, general director of Hanoi Investment and Human Resources No. 1 JSC, believes that the demand for skilled workers who have worked abroad will increase.
“To avoid wasting human resources with experiences working abroad, especially in industries that Vietnam lacks, such as engineering, high-tech agriculture, electronics, and automation, businesses and localities need to pay more attention to creating jobs for workers returning home,” she said.
To support workers returning home to work in positions with salaries that match their qualifications and aspirations, enterprises from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and the Centre of Overseas Labour in collaboration with local employment service centres plan to organise a job fair for returning workers.
Dinh Van Duyet, director of the Employment Service Centre of Bac Ninh province, which works with approximately 1,200 FIEs said, “The job fair is also one of the solutions to encourage workers to return to the country when the labour contract expires.”
The Department of Overseas Labour previously said it would develop a document concretising the Law on Labour on regulations of sending Vietnamese workers overseas, requiring businesses to communicate this information to workers.
| ||Overseas work not a guarantee for career prosperity |
Many low-skilled overseas Vietnamese workers are struggling on their return home, finding it difficult to settle in and find new jobs in the face of fierce domestic competition.
| ||High-quality training programmes crucial for overseas working success |
Despite sending 100,000 people to work abroad every year, the vast majority are unskilled. Deputy director of the Department of Overseas Labour under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Gia Liem discussed the challenges of the labour export market and the search for a high-income market for workers with VIR’s Thai An.