Problems of Vietnamese labor force

January 12, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Globalization is expanding quickly across the globe through the increase of bilateral trade agreements and positive supports of technology advancement. This trend is promoting across-nation investment as well as the labor movements all over the world. Indeed, globalization  brings both business opportunities and challenges to every country. Vietnam is in the same line.

Known as a developing country upon the agriculture civilization, Vietnamese labor market is in the construction process. Vietnamese labor force consists of more than 51 million people by 2014 as three -fourth of the total population. However, the quality of the workforce is quite low, presenting in the shortage of high-quality workers to meet the market demand. A survey conducted by Ministry of Planning and Investment in 2013 revealed that the supply of high-skilled labors only satisfied of 40% of the total market demand on this type of employment. In addition, many Vietnamese graduates could not find a job immediately after their graduation although they own universities or colleges’ degrees.

This fact questions why such a fact has occurred in Vietnam and how Vietnamese government has to do in order to address such problems. Primary reasons are found as following.

Firstly, the training curriculums of Vietnamese universities and schools have not met entirely the practical requirements of the market. In the other words, there is not a strong connection between schools and enterprises in developing the training curriculums. As such, the knowledge trained in the schools may not be appropriate with changes in the business environment.  Students, who have graduated from universities or colleges, may not satisfy their potential employers because of a lack of their knowledge and skills towards matching the companies’ requirement in the short term. Consequently, companies seem to favor experienced candidates in order to reduce the time for training on fresh graduates and saving operating cost.

Secondly, although there are many foreign companies accessing into Vietnamese market, university graduates have still not got desire jobs because of their English. Low English skills become a barrier for Vietnamese graduates to be hired by foreign companies.

Thirdly, employment is not an easy process. It requires essential working skills, proper working attitude, and discipline. Vietnamese workforce seems to lack these skills. As such, it takes time for workers to understand the importance of such skills in order to develop them. Obviously, this awareness wastes time and remove opportunities for Vietnamese people in the time constraint, especially since labor movements will occur across South East Asian region momentarily.

The reasons of problems occurring in Vietnamese workforce suggest Vietnamese Government to develop new policies to address them, notably since Vietnam is an attractive destination of foreign investment.

It is critical to strengthen the connection between schools and enterprises in developing training curriculum and performing teaching process. The systematic knowledge and advanced teaching methodology in the schools will be helpful to develop “hardware” of knowledge and methodological thinking for students. Differently, the practical perspectives from enterprises will be valuable to develop “software” or soft -skills for students, who will participate in the workforce shortly. As such, this connection will be a key to address the gap between training and working in the labor force, and strengthen the workforce.

In addition, English should be considered to become an official language of Vietnam rather than only integrate into the training program as one subject. This consideration is not only a simple decision on teaching English, but it is also a change in the point of view about teaching and working with English, a useful tool to work in the globalization process.

Vietnamese education system is in the restructuring process with other problems should be addressed. However, the overall plan should be made with considerations to the context of globalization and priorities of issues as key points to address others. As such, changes in educational perspectives towards supporting the labor force and dealing with changes in the business environment are keys for further implementation.