Students attend a job fair in Ho Chi Minh City
It has become common in Vietnam for recent graduates to learn they can't find a job in their field of study. Many, end up working in jobs for which they have no education or training.
Critics of this phenomenon say that Vietnam’s training system is impractical and its ability to provide vocational guidance or forecast labor demands has proven poor.
They blame these factors for the country's surplus of graduates who can't find decent jobs despite their official diplomas and the excess of demand for employees who can directly assist with the many high-tech production jobs coming online.
In my opinion, the problem is not that simple.
Providing vocational guidance is never easy and we can't practically assume that a high school student knows well which major will serve him or her best.
In fact, most students choose their majors based on crowd psychology. Even at Harvard, most students choose economics as their major because they see others doing so.
Businesses and employment organizations are mostly to blame for the fact that recent graduates cannot do their jobs well. In developed countries like the United States recent college grads are able to do go to work right away thanks to effective internship programs. In these countries, internships plays an important part in the students’ learning process.
Businesses usually consider interns assets and internships an opportunity to create future value. As such, they treat interns very well and create policies designed to welcome and train them.
Interns are given opportunities to do practical jobs so they can fit in after they graduate.
It needs to be noted that almost everyone can learn to do a job. Students who studied social sciences, economics or computing can become good journalists. So there's no failure involved in a student not working in the field he/she was trained for.
Internships can help students orient themselves toward their future and choose an appropriate career.
The problem with Vietnam is that many businesses or agencies consider interns trouble and simply task them with menial jobs.
As a result, interns here don't gain much experience or knowledge and most view their internships as a vacation from study and exams.
Another problem with human resources in Vietnam is the quality of training available to current employees. Companies and organizations don't care to invest in training as they fear their employees will use it to find better jobs at other companies.
As a result, the quality of human resources never improves. It is a no-win situation.
In developed countries, companies and organizations pay a great deal of attention to training, even though it's common for employees to leave jobs in these countries.
When almost everyone receives training, it improves the quality of people who are both coming and going.
Huynh The Du
* The writer is a senior lecturer at Fulbright Economics Teaching Program. The opinions expressed are his own.