Soft skills a hard sell in Vietnam: survey

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Vietnamese professionals are yet to pay heed to the importance of networking in improving their business and enhancing their career prospects, a survey has found.

Business networking website Caravat.com, which conducted the survey of 8,000 professionals living and working in the country, said very few respondents just 9 percent scored an expert level networking IQ that it fixed at between 60 and 70 points.

Those who are good at networking and have a high Networking IQ, are more likely to receive promotion opportunities and achieve professional success, said Thanh Nguyen, CEO of Caravat.com.

But "I think Vietnamese are still under-estimating the importance of networking skills," said Nguyen Thi Van Anh, managing director of recruitment solutions provider Navigos Group.

Anh noted that recent research on Fortune 500 CEOs revealed that soft skills, "of which networking was the most important," accounted for up to 75 percent of a professional's success potential.

Caravat.com's qualitative research via group discussions showed that though directors of foreign invested companies have higher networking IQs, they were prone to deploy them within their companies and a limited number of people outside that they considered important.

On the other hand, directors of public companies were more proactive in building up their networks, reaching out to a wider group of people in different areas, including those they hadn't met earlier.

This, in the long run, would give them many advantages and this group is more likely to be successful when they have to make a big career change or start up a new business.

MBA degree holder Khoa, a manager at a multinational company, said he'd assumed that he was good at advancing his career until he took the test. "With a networking IQ of 43, I've realized that many essential skills, which were never taught at school, play a very important role at work."

The May 6-24 survey also found that there was no direct correlation between education levels and networking IQ. Average networking IQ of bachelor degree holders was 49, while that of Masters degree holders was 50. Doctorate degree holders recorded the lowest level networking skills at an average IQ of 48.

Online recruiters not unhappy about supply-demand gap

Vietnam's top web-based job seeking service is pleased to see that the number of online applicants is on the rise, despite a minor dip in demand.

The number of online jobseekers in Vietnam rose 14.1 percent year on year in the first four months while the number of employers recruiting online dropped 6.5 percent, according to the Online Employment Indicator Report issued by online recruitment solution provider VietnamWorks.com on May 18.

Chris Harvey, General Director of VietnamWorks.com, said: "During the downturn, people were reluctant to leave the security of their current jobs to try something new. The increase in the online labor supply shows that people have become more confident as the economy improves."

The top most popular online recruitment sectors were accounting/finance, administrative/clerical, human resource, sales, and customer service. Labor supply for both human resources and customer service increased 10.5 percent compared to the last quarter of 2009, while labor supply for accounting/finance and administrative/clerical work declined 2.5 percent and 6.5 percent respectively.

In this quarter, sales continued to harbor the shortest labor demand-supply gap and became the most competitive function for talent online.

Meanwhile, banking was the toughest industry for online applicants to win a job. Despite the aggressive growth in demand of 18 percent in banking, supply also skyrocketed, making the sector the most competitive for prospective employees searching for jobs online.

In this quarter, sales, accounting/finance, administrative/clerical, IT-software, and marketing were the top five sectors in terms of their online employment demand.

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