Vietnam workers need better skills to meet changing demands: World Bank

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Vietnam needs to focus on making its workforce more productive to meet new demands during its transition into a modern, industrial market economy, the World Bank has said.

With the economy modernizing, non-manual and skill-intensive jobs are set to replace the country's predominant manual and unskilled jobs, it said in a recent report. 

Employers are increasingly looking for superior cognitive, behavioral, and technical skills, it said.

But Christian Bodewig, the report's lead author, said they are struggling to find qualified workers.

The country should equip workers with the new skills, making a more skilled workforce an "important part of Vietnam's effort to accelerate economic growth and further its economic modernization in the coming decade," he said.  

Vietnamese workers have a high literacy rate, but the challenge now is to turn them into critical thinkers and problem solvers for which there would be increasing demand in coming years, the report said.

It suggested reorienting the education system to focus more on teaching these types of skills.

Bodewig said the government should help universities partner more effectively with businesses.

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In a report released December 2, HSBC expressed a similar opinion, saying the country needs a better education system.

Vietnam spends a relatively large amount of money on education, with public education accounting for 6.6 percent of GDP, but its training quality ranks among the lowest in the region, it said.

The country is attracting large foreign-inflows thanks to its diligent and relatively cheap labor most workers still earn less than US$100 per month -- but this advantage is likely to be short-lived, it warned.

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