Vietnam economy could shift to low-skilled jobs
Vietnam’s economy could shift more towards low-skilled jobs and less towards high-skilled ones compared with other ASEAN member nations, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).
Speaking at a recent seminar held jointly with the ManpowerGroup, MoLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said this is why it is important for the nation to focus on improving the skillsets of workers and revamp the structure of the work forces.
The conclusions are consistent with an International Labour Organization (ILO) working paper that shows in the absence of any corrective action, low skilled jobs are likely to migrate towards Vietnam while the high-tech jobs could flow to other nations.
The ILO paper adds to the debate over the long-term issues of pay, skills and productivity in Vietnam, where employment levels have been remarkably resilient but labour productivity languishes below most other ASEAN nations.
Vietnam is gaining a reputation as the jobs factory of ASEAN but at the same time, many economic leaders are cautioning that too many workers could get stuck in relatively badly paid work because workers lack the skillsets they need.
The long-term pattern of jobs growth in ASEAN is predicted by the ILO to be uneven relative to the current situation and technical workers might migrate to the countries of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Whereas a disproportionate share of mid-skilled jobs such as secretaries and machine operators and the low-skilled jobs — for example, shop assistants — will flow to Vietnam leaving the nation out of the high-skilled jobs, such as managers.
The ILO working paper shows Vietnam's employment number by 2025 could rise by 14.5% as a result of the shift of low skilled jobs and this poses challenges for Vietnam in developing and stabilizing the labour market as well as the management of foreign workers.
The solution to addressing the problem Deputy Minister Diep said is to improve the skillsets of workers and revamp the structure of the labour force to polish the nation’s economic competitiveness.
While the ILO analysis is inherently somewhat speculative, it feeds into the regional and debate within Vietnam over the trade-offs between the quality and the quantity of jobs that the AEC will generate.
Other speakers at the seminar underscored the importance of strengthening connectivity within the ASEAN region and outside, accelerating economic restructuring, fully tapping competitive advantages and upgrading the quality of workforce to meet the market demand for the higher skilled jobs.
Le Quang Trung, deputy director general of the Department of Employment under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) asked relevant agencies to complete legal documents to protect Vietnamese workers’ rights and use overseas workers effectively in compliance with international commitments.
The Vietnam economy is going through quite a structural shift during this period of transition brought about by the AEC, Trung said and it’s important to support the creation of higher-skilled jobs in industries across the board.