To ensure its long-term growth as a manufacturing hub, Vietnam will need to have a talent supply with the desired skills to meet this demand. Globally, 70 per cent of employers are currently or actively planning to recruit for green jobs and skills, with over one-third indicating interest in recruiting green talent within manufacturing and production.
|Nguyen Thu Trang - Head of Manpower Brand ManpowerGroup Vietnam
Likewise, in Vietnam, manufacturing tops the list of in-demand industries for green jobs (30 per cent) in the first eight months this year, according to a ManpowerGroup Vietnam survey.
The demand for green jobs and skills can be broken down into three categories: Specialist green skills, greening roles, and green potential roles.
Specialist green skills are required for specialist roles such as ecologists, electric vehicle battery design engineers, and renewable equipment maintenance engineers; greening roles require leveraging transferable skills from other industries, and potential roles will require some green skills which can be acquired through training, such as procurement personnel for sustainable supply chains.
Besides green skills, a surge in demand for companies with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) credentials is also expected as organisations seek to make their supply chains more sustainable. More and more manufacturing companies in Vietnam will need to acquire these credentials to ensure long-term growth.
While over six in 10 organisations have some ESG programme in place, only 36 per cent of Vietnamese companies seek independent assurances on their ESG reporting, lagging behind their global counterparts. This is worrisome as 71 per cent say they lack understanding of data required for reporting on the impact of their ESG strategies.
Two-thirds of respondents in the same survey also cited the absence of transparent regulations and clear guidelines as the most difficult challenge they face in implementing ESG goals. To accelerate the green transition of Vietnamese organisations and to help ensure their growth, the government will need to provide more clarity and resources to help companies develop their ESG-capabilities and acquire sustainability credentials such to meet the demands from global companies looking to work with sustainability-accredited partners.
The demand for talent to fill green jobs is expected to outstrip the current supply. Globally, 94 per cent of employers report lacking the necessary talent to implement their goals despite having developed their ESG strategy. In Southeast Asia itself, there could be as many as 30 million sustainability-linked jobs by 2030, according to a report by Bridgespan. A talent shortage of workers with green skills is anticipated in Vietnam as well, based on trends.
Vietnam has significant potential for green transformation – its population size ranks among the top three in Southeast Asia, plus it is also in a prime population period with two-thirds of the population who are of working age.
To meet the demands for green skills, companies need to quickly upskill and reskill the existing workforce now to bridge the skills gap of the local workforce. The government also needs to work with academic institutions to train youths in green skills, especially specialist green roles requiring niche skill sets.
Aside from green skills, companies also need talent with soft skills such as problem-solving, digital and management skills, depending on the role, to complement green skills. Foreign language proficiency is also considered crucial. From our observation, poor proficiency in English and lack of soft skills are some of the challenges manufacturing recruiters face. According to our report, 30 per cent of the surveyed companies say that less than 10 per cent of their employees have the necessary English skills to work.
Vietnam can look to other countries for ideas on how to address this. For example, in Germany, the German chemical industry runs a sustainability initiative, Chemie, together with the sectoral industry association VCI, the trade union IG BCE, and the respective employer association BAVC.
In Singapore, local companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can get training support and other resources to build their ESG capabilities through the government-backed enterprise sustainability programme. Besides training programmes, smaller businesses can also receive help in disclosing data about their ESG performance and how they perform against their peers in the industry.
In Vietnam, the clock is ticking. While the government vows to tackle climate change and promote ESG-related practices, more needs to be done in terms of driving awareness on ESG practices, providing clarity and structure on related guidelines as well as training support so that companies and workers can leverage the green momentum to secure long-term growth.
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