Official surveys have come up with a new explanation for the rising unemployment among college graduates in Vietnam: they are overqualified.
During a conference held in town on Wednesday, Dr Ho Ba Tham, senior expert at the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies, said that unqualified workers are highly sought after, these days.
Tham addressed the high demand but poor supply of high school graduates with vocational training, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
A labor survey conducted by the labor ministry last May showed that more than 37 percent of job vacancies are for untrained workers, more than 22 percent for high school graduates with vocational training, and less than 15 percent for university graduates.
Figures from the labor ministry released on July 2 counted 162,400 unemployed who hold at least a university diploma.
The ministry survey showed that 20 percent of new graduates, ranging between 20-24 years of age, are jobless.
Tham said many young people who failed their university entrance exams could have applied for vocational schools but they weren't happy being workers.
Many vocational school graduates continue to take any chance they get to attend university, which, under the current circumstances, isn't exactly practical, he said.
Officials at the conference did not reportedly discuss the issue of remuneration, but Tran Anh Tuan, director of HCMC Center of Human Resources Demand Forecast, said that labor preferences are understandable given an economy crowded with small and medium-sized businesses.
"Businesses are asking for high-quality workforce; that doesn't necessarily mean highly educated," Tuan said. "These firms want people who are skilled, responsible and ethical."
At many major businesses, the supply and demand for workers isn't matching up.
Sectors like construction, architecture, accounting and auditing are seeing a surplus of workers while information technology and mechanical engineering are in need.
Tham has therefore asked the government to provide better guidelines on market demands.
He asked that whatever data is released have some long-term validity and specifically outline what kind of expertise will be wanted and what will not.