Talent shortage in second half of 2021 and the way out

August 12, 2021 | 08:00
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The globe is now experiencing the biggest workforce shift and reallocation of skills since World War II. Due to the pandemic, even those skills most in demand in the early phase of the crisis are different to demand emerging now and expected in the future, especially as they relate to automation and digital transformation. Vietnam is no exception. Trang Nguyen, country head of Permanent Recruitment and Executive Search Services, ManpowerGroup Vietnam, shared with VIR's Bich Thuy the current talent shortage in Vietnam and how businesses are dealing with the recruitment difficulties.
Talent shortage in second half of 2021 and the way out
Trang Nguyen, country head of Permanent Recruitment and Executive Search Services, ManpowerGroup Vietnam

Which industries have the highest talent demand in the second half of 2021?

As a leading global workforce solutions company, we work with our clients in various industries. The talent shortage has been reported every year globally, and in 2021, nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) of companies globally report talent shortages – the highest in 15 years. Notably, those companies that are digitising the most are creating the most jobs. Larger companies are most likely to accelerate digitisation as a result of the pandemic. According to 2021 Skills Revolution Reboot, 86 per cent of employers that are automating plan to increase or maintain their headcount, compared to just 11 per cent of employers who plan to reduce or hold plans to automate.

In Vietnam our clients in IT, manufacturing, electronics, technology, energy, semiconductor, automation, energy (wind/solar), and healthcare, among others, who need our recruitment and staffing services are hiring more than they did in the first three months of the year.

E-commerce has also seen increased recruitment but not that significant as compared to last year.

According to ManpowerGroup Vietnam Employment Outlook Survey, the top six sectors expecting their hiring plans to return to the pre-pandemic level in the next 3-6 months include manufacturing and processing, wholesale, retail and trading, ICT, education and training, professional consulting services and construction.

Talent shortage in second half of 2021 and the way out
10 top soft skills

What roles are in the highest demand, in Vietnam and globally?

In Vietnam all roles in the technology sector have seen significant increase in permanent recruitment and executive search. All senior IT and business transformation roles are focused on expatriate recruitment as not many Vietnamese candidates have the required experience.

The hiring demand of technical positions, especially engineering roles (IT, electrical, energy, semiconductor, automation, technician, field service engineer) in the manufacturing sector have doubled compared to the previous year.

Under the impacts of COVID-19 and the technological revolution, high recruitment demand is focused on business transformation and digitisation roles. For example, the finance sector is now hiring many senior roles with digital skills.

Despite the pandemic impacts, ManpowerGroup Vietnam consultants see executive employment in the second quarter 50 per cent higher than the first quarter.

Globally, according to ManpowerGroup 2021 Talent Shortage Survey, COVID-19 is reshaping in-demand skills. Technology-related roles continue to be in high demand and logistics shows no signs of reverting back to pre-crisis levels as the shift to online retail is here to stay. Demand is strengthening within manufacturing, hospitality, entertainment, and travel sectors as industries most impacted by the pandemic start to bring their workers back.

What hot skills are employers looking for?

Soft skills such as agility, business acumen, adaptability, and data analysis are currently in high demand in Vietnam. Foreign language is also a necessary skill, especially a second foreign language apart from English. Candidates with other languages like Korean, Japanese, and Chinese will have more chances to be employed.

The top soft skills have changed significantly due to COVID-19, you can see new in-demand soft skills like prioritisation, empathy (for leaders), resilience, initiative taking, and coaching. Following the pandemic, skills like resilience and coaching are more important than ever.

With agility, business acumen and data analysis skills in their resume, candidates can stand out from the crowd.

Amid growing demand, how much can Vietnamese talent pool meet the requirements from employers?

The Vietnamese talent pool can meet about 80 per cent of employers' requirements in manufacturing. In IT, technology (AI, Automation), the Vietnamese talent pool can only meet about 60 per cent of requirements. The training and education currently do not match the practical needs of enterprises.

There should be more cooperation between training institutions and enterprises. So far the cooperation between the two parties has seen much improvement over years. However, education and training institutions need to associate with businesses in developing training programmes and pay attention to the training of core working skills and soft skills for students, especially foreign language skill, and other soft skills.

What challenges are local candidates facing now to meet requirements of international investors?

Training in technology is still lagging behind global technology evolution.

The cooperation between training institutions and companies is lacking a strategic plan. For example, companies work with schools to find suitable talent and schools ask companies to help them supplement their training programmes, which requires a lot of time to put into practice.

Governmental policies on cooperative training should be in place to improve the quality of practical training for the real needs of businesses.

Last but not least, to cope with the talent shortage, employers should consider lowering their requirements in recruiting process and upskill the current workforce.

Appendix: 2021 Talent Shortage Survey

Top 5 Most In-Demand Roles Globally

1. Operations / Logistics (29 per cent)

2. Manufacturing / Production (22 per cent)

3. IT / Data (14 per cent)

4. Sales / Marketing (13 per cent)

5. Administration / Office Support (10 per cent)

Top 5 Soft Skills Globally

1. Accountability, reliability, and discipline (33 per cent)

2. Resilience, stress tolerance, and adaptability (30 per cent)

3. Initiative taking (26 per cent)

4. Reasoning, problem-solving (25 per cent)

5. Leadership and social influence (25 per cent)

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By Bich Thuy

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