Vietnam: businesses struggle to fill vacancies amid talent shortages

Expat news
  • job Interview in Vietnam
Published on 2023-03-29 at 07:00 by Natallia Slimani
As Vietnam continues to emerge as a key player in the global economy, the country is facing a significant challenge - a shortage of skilled labor and talent. With a rapidly growing economy and increasing demand for skilled workers across a range of industries, Vietnam is struggling to keep pace with the needs of its businesses. In this article, we will explore the causes of Vietnam's labor and talent shortages, the impact on the economy, and potential solutions for addressing this pressing issue.

Labor and talent shortages in Vietnam: Current situation

Vietnam has experienced significant economic growth in recent years, with a steady increase in foreign investment and exports. However, this growth has been hampered by a shortage of skilled labor and talent in various industries. This shortage has led to a rise in labor costs and a decrease in productivity, posing a significant challenge to Vietnam's economic development.

According to a report by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, Vietnam is facing a severe shortage of skilled labor in various sectors, including information technology, finance, and manufacturing. The report notes that the number of college-educated workers in Vietnam is not keeping pace with the demand from these industries, leading to a shortage of qualified workers.

Additionally, a survey by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry found that over 70% of businesses in Vietnam are struggling to find skilled workers. This shortage has resulted in higher wages and benefits for employees, leading to increased costs for businesses and a potential decrease in competitiveness.

The talent shortage in Vietnam is not limited to skilled labor but also extends to managerial and leadership positionsA report by Navigos Search, a leading recruitment agency in Vietnam, found that the demand for senior managers and executives far outweighs the supply. This shortage is particularly acute in the finance, marketing, and human resources industries.

To address the talent shortage, the Vietnamese government has implemented various initiatives, including vocational training programs and collaborations with foreign companies to attract skilled workers. However, the impact of these efforts has yet to be fully realized, and the shortage of talent remains a significant challenge for Vietnam's economic development.

Work permit procedures in Vietnam for foreign professionals 

During the Vietnam Business Forum 2023, Hong Sun, the Chairman of KOCHAM (Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam), highlighted that South Korean companies are facing difficulties in obtaining work permits for their foreign staff, with the process taking anywhere from two to six months due to additional paperwork requirements.

To address this issue, KOCHAM has recommended that the Vietnamese government provide clear and consistent guidelines for businesses to request work permits. Additionally, according to Gabor Fluit, the chairman of EuroCham (European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam), Vietnam needs to simplify its administrative procedures regarding work permits in order to attract and retain talented individuals. He argued that it is unfair for foreigners who have resided, worked, and invested in Vietnam for a significant period of time to be denied a work permit extension due to minor administrative issues.

Moreover, Greg Testerman, the chairman of AmCham Vietnam (American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam), also noted that there are ambiguous aspects in the regulations regarding the issuance of work permits, which should be simplified. Additionally, he believes that requiring foreign workers to have a college degree in the specific field they are seeking a work permit for is unnecessary.

According to the Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, Dao Ngoc Dung, the labor law is being streamlined by the government, with a focus on formulating new regulations pertaining to work permit issuance that prioritize foreign experts and managers.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has stated that the visa policy is currently being revised to ensure the most favorable circumstances for foreign individuals.

How to relocate to Vietnam for work?

If you are looking to relocate to Vietnam to take advantage of labor shortages, there are several things you should consider:

Visa and Work Permit: Before you can work in Vietnam, you need to obtain a visa and work permit. You can either apply for a work permit through your employer or apply for a business visa and then convert it to a work permit. Learn more about visas in Vietnam and working in Vietnam in our Vietnam Expat Guide.

Job search: You can look for jobs in Vietnam through job boards, social media platforms, or recruitment agencies. You can also try to network with people in your industry who are already working in Vietnam. Learn more about working in Vietnam as a digital nomad.

Skills and qualifications: To take advantage of labor shortages in Vietnam, you need to have skills and qualifications that are in demand. Some of the industries with the most significant shortages include information technology, healthcare, and engineering.

Language and cultural knowledge: Knowing the Vietnamese language and culture can be an advantage in getting a job and adjusting to life in Vietnam. You can learn the language through language schools or online courses.

Cost of living: The cost of living in Vietnam is relatively low compared to other countries. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Vietnam is 51.0% lower than that of the United States, while the average rent in Vietnam is 75.6% lower than in the United States. However, it would be best to consider the cost of housing, transportation, and other living expenses in relation to your salary, lifestyle and other expenses before relocating.

Overall, relocating to Vietnam for work can be an excellent opportunity for expats with the right skills and qualifications. It would be best to do your research and prepare accordingly before making the move.

Final thoughts 

In conclusion, the labor and talent shortages in Vietnam present a promising opportunity for expats looking to relocate and work in the country. With the right skills, qualifications, and cultural knowledge, expats can take advantage of the high demand for labor in various industries such as information technology, healthcare, and engineering.

However, it's essential to note that relocating to a new country requires careful planning and preparation. Expats should research visa and work permit requirements, job opportunities, and the cost of living before making a move to Vietnam.