Vietnam tech arena strives to circumvent global lay-off woes

February 23, 2023 | 10:19
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Despite massive lay-offs and the emergence of AI software, the Vietnamese tech job market will still require more than 150,000 programmers a year for the foreseeable future.

Since its emergence in the past few months, AI applications like ChatGPT are eventually expected to replace many job positions in the labour market, including in IT.

Vietnam tech arena strives to circumvent global lay-off woes
Vietnam tech arena strives to circumvent global lay-off woes, photo source:

Global business development director of MindX Technology School Nguyen Trung Duc said that the outstanding points of the software such as low cost, ease of management, and high working efficiency were factors that business owners cannot ignore if it becomes commercialised in Vietnam.

“Currently, an AI tool costs about $40 a month, while an intern would need a stipend of perhaps over triple that. As a result, many fresh graduates with little experience will have more difficulty finding work,” Duc said. “New technology will replace the first low-end products. Workers with low grey matter, doing simple jobs, will be the first group to be replaced.”

However, Duc added that such tech would not affect the labour market in Vietnam in the near future. Firstly, the information provided by ChatGPT depends on the input data source, so it often provides false information. Secondly, AI technology is not necessarily a breakthrough because it lacks the critical thinking humans possess.

“The tool is now more like software that quickly aggregates and organises information based on open data, rather than a brain that thinks like a human,” Duc explained. “If a Google search provides multidimensional information on an issue, ChatGPT will give an answer directly according to its knowledge. If it’s wrong, we will get false information that sometimes we do not even know.”

According to Nguyen Thac Thang, CEO of senior recruitment consulting group ACG, AI tools could support the work of IT staff at first, especially to shorten working time and make basic reports.

“It is unlikely to replace the work of programmers, but assistive technology tools and software like ChatGPT are essential to help developers create more quality products,” he said.

Thang said that technology companies would still maintain a certain number of employees, combined with AI, to take advantage of both huumans and machines.

“Younger employees will have more opportunities because they are better able to stay updated than those who have been in a job for a long time and are weaker in terms of mastering new technology and a willingness to do so,” Thang said.

The Vietnamese technology industry labour market possesses different factors compared to many countries in the world. The latest information from global data monitor shows that over 350 companies in the global tech industry had to lay off about 105,000 employees in the first two months of 2023.

In January alone, big names in the technology field such as Google parent group Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM laid off nearly 44,000 employees. Meanwhile, recruitment demand at many tech enterprises in Vietnam is still increasing, despite the impact from a massive wave of lay-offs.

At the beginning of 2023, Vietnamese giant FPT welcomed its 60,000th employee, adding thousands of employees compared to a year earlier. CMC Technology Group is also expected to recruit about 300 more employees by the end of the first quarter, bringing the total number of employees to more than 6,000.

Last year, Germany group Bosch began the process of expanding operations in Vietnam, recruited around 1,100 more software engineers for research and development centres in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Bosch’s staffing needs are expected to grow by around 2,300 engineers over the next two years as the company aims to hit 6,000 engineers by 2025.

One of the reasons for the differing fortunes in Vietnam could stem from the National Strategy on Digital Transformation, implemented in Vietnam three years ago, which has spurred a wave of tech startups and increased the number of projects from many large companies and global tech groups, leading to an increase in the demand for employees in this field.

Meanwhile, the Tech Hiring 2022 report from TopDev, an IT recruitment platform established in 2015, shows that Vietnam is short of 150,000-190,000 programmers and engineers for the next two years. Previously, demand for IT workers in Vietnam was even more scarce, with a shortage of 400,000 employees in 2020 and 450,000 employees in 2021.

According to the national digital tech industry development strategy for this decade, Vietnam plans to increase the number of digital tech enterprises from 67,300 in 2022 to 100,000 by 2030, while the number of employees in the field will rise to 1.8 million.

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