Under-skilled Vietnamese workforce hindering production: survey

TN News

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More than 60 percent of foreign companies in Vietnam say the current Vietnamese workforce hinders production due to its lack of skills, Vietnamnet recently quoted a survey as saying.

The survey of 350 foreign and local companies in services and production found that 40 percent of local companies shared the same opinion.

The poll was conducted in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and adjacent provinces by the World Bank and the Central Institute for Economic Management, one of Vietnam's top think tanks, the news website reported. 

The survey also revealed that nearly 30 percent of foreign companies, and 17 percent of local companies considered the local unskilled workforce as a major hindrance.

Even with the trained workforce, the surveyed employers 31 percent of foreign, and nearly 23 percent of local ones - said they were obstruction, Vietnamnet reported. 

According to the survey, 66 percent of foreign employers were unsatisfied with the quality of local education and human resource training. The rate was 36 percent for local companies.

The fields of technique, management, office and sales-services were most often blamed for the lack of skilled applicants, it said.

Speaking to Vietnamnet, Christian Bodewig, senior economist and human development sector coordinator for World Bank in Vietnam, said that the lack of skills is common for the workforces of developing economies, adding that the dynamic leads to poor creativity.

Meanwhile, Vu Tuan Anh, managing director of the Hanoi-based Institute for Management Research and Training, said companies need to be "proactive" when investing in human resources, as they are the ones who first benefit from fresh graduates, and the ones which suffer when the labor pool's skills are underdeveloped. 

"It is natural to train staff, if we aim for high productivity," he said, citing that the South Korean-owned steel maker Posco Company built a school to train its workforce.

However, one of the "simpler" solutions, according to Anh, is to train between three and four human resource experts to develop a source of labor for Vietnamese companies.

At the moment, there are between 200,000 and 250,000 experts in human resources in the country, which is "small" compared to its millions of laborers, he added.

On the other hand, laborers also need to "save themselves" through self-study that is supported by their employers, said the expert, who has worked in the field of human resources training for foreign and local organizations for over 15 years.

Speaking about the demand for a better trained workforce, Anh said over the past 20 years of economic reforms, Vietnam has relied on the low costs of labor and raw materials, but such way of doing business is becoming obsolete.

"If we continue doing so, we will only go down together. It is a dead-end road for Vietnamese businesses," he said.

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