Finding a job and working in Vietnam

Vietnam skyline
Updated 2023-11-19 12:51

Anyone thinking about working in Vietnam is in for a treat. Compared to many Western countries, Vietnam's workforce operates in accordance with an entirely different range of customs and traditions. We have compiled the most recent information on the Vietnamese job market to familiarize you with the job-hunting process.

Vietnam's economy

Vietnam's economy has been booming over the past decade. In 2022, Vietnam's GDP grew by 8%, proving a strong rebound post-pandemic. Numerous industries are skyrocketing, which in turn is creating numerous opportunities for foreigners and local residents.

Working in Vietnam offers a unique and intriguing professional life that is, on average, well-compensated. In addition to competitive salaries, many Vietnamese employers will include a housing allowance, regular team-building dinners, and quarterly retreats. These events will give you the opportunity to socialize with your team and get to explore Vietnam with new friends.

Without further ado, let's take a brief look at what kind of jobs are available in Vietnam.

Vietnam's job market

As of 2022, the unemployment rate in Vietnam is incredibly low, especially compared to other countries in the region. The majority of Vietnamese people living in the countryside work in the agricultural sector. This is hardly a surprise as it accounts for nearly 15% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The service sector is also huge in Vietnam. However, since exports account for the majority of this country's economy, the various manufacturing industries also provide ample employment for locals.

Companies in Vietnam are fiercely competitive when it comes to bringing foreign expertise into their ranks. Therefore, generous relocation packages are normally offered to prospective employees. The lucrativeness of these packages will depend on several variables, including age, experience, and your ability to negotiate. It would be unfair to say that older applicants are treated with more respect. However, the social hierarchy in Vietnam generally implies privilege for the mature in both professional and home life.

Any foreign professional under the age of 25 who is considering working in Vietnam will be presented with numerous options, but applicants moving abroad with families will be provided a different set of bonuses.

Become an English teacher

This is probably the most common occupation for young foreigners wishing to reside in Vietnam. Locals, and especially schoolchildren, are exceptionally keen to improve their English skills. In fact, this makes it rather difficult for foreigners to practice their Vietnamese.

Anyone thinking of becoming an English teacher in Vietnam can expect a salary of between USD 15 and USD 30 per hour. Once again, your remuneration will depend on numerous variables, such as the institution that employs you and your degree or academic background.

Work in information technology

The IT sector in Vietnam presents an abundance of opportunities for new and creative professionals in this field. The top popular occupations include web development, graphic design, and software engineering. Whilst Vietnamese companies hire foreign experts, be prepared to adjust your vision of the Vietnamese labor market. Leo Burnett, Shoppee and Deloitte are just a few of the international companies currently with job openings in Vietnam. You can also use LinkedIn and Glassdoor for more listings.

Social media influencer

With today's technology trends, social media influencers are being contracted by companies to help develop brand reach and identity. If you already have a travel blog or an online presence, you can apply to companies like TikTok or Momo, a Vietnamese banking app, and work with their branding team on a contract basis.

If you are serious about building an audience in Vietnam, you will definitely need to learn Vietnamese. Gaining the trust and admiration of the local younger generation is the first step to shooting into influencer fame. Learn more about foreign influencers in Vietnam by reading this article published by a local magazine.

How to find a job in Vietnam

Working in Vietnam is relatively easy, given the ubiquity of resources available. Furthermore, most of them are online or at least have a web-based counterpart.

Recruitment agencies and job portals in Vietnam have a clear and accessible online presence. What's more, social media is frequently used by employers from numerous sectors.

If you're serious about working in Vietnam, the best way of making sure everything is above board is to start networking on LinkedIn or review company GlassDoor profiles.

Your timing will also be fundamental to success in many fields, as employment is sometimes seasonal. Teaching English is a classic example of this fact, as schools and universities are subject to holidays. That being said, opportunities to work privately exist in abundance as Vietnam's middle class continues to grow.

Working culture and etiquette in Vietnam

Vietnamese people are incredibly dynamic and hardworking, and in many respects, working in Vietnam is similar to the working cultures of nearby countries like China and Japan. A solid work ethic is the backbone of this country's rising economy. Offices are considered a very formal environment in Vietnam, and feng shui plays a small part in their working culture. As an expat, you would, of course, be expected to dress in appropriate attire. However, you can take several other actions to ensure you create a memorable and terrific first impression.

  • Go to lunch - Vietnamese workers love socializing over lunch and after-hours drinks. This is one of the best opportunities you will have to expand your professional network and make new friends.
  • Keep your head above water - Vietnam is a Buddhist nation. Therefore, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body. Do not touch a person's head, as this is considered very disrespectful. This applies to all circumstances, not only in the workplace.
  • Punctuality and public decorum - Arrive on time for any meetings and don't cause public conflict between colleagues or friends. Vietnamese people will not tolerate a public disagreement, and you will instantly feel the conversation or business negotiations stall. This also includes using sarcasm for humor, which may get lost in translation.

Company hierarchy in Vietnam is relatively straightforward. For the majority of circumstances, the likelihood is that older people are closer to the top of a company's workforce structure. Thus, it is prudent to behave in an appropriate manner. Vietnam is becoming more liberal in equal opportunities for genders. Ensure that you are polite and kind to all colleagues.

Being respectful in the workplace is a prerequisite for any good employee. However, try to extend additional courtesy to those who are older than you.

Legalities and work permits in Vietnam

Although acquiring a work permit in Vietnam is a lengthy and complex process, updates happen frequently. The most recent changes took place in August 2023, making the process more strict. There are more requirements for proof of education and previous experience.

The process of obtaining a work permit in Vietnam, if you have already met all the educational requirements, is simple. Your employer will send you an invitation to work or a contract, which you will take to your embassy for notarization. If you are outside of Vietnam, the company's HR department will guide you through the steps to ensure everything is legal. If you are already in Vietnam and starting a new position, you may take up the challenge of getting a police check and medical check to assist with your work permit process.


All documents must be translated into Vietnamese prior to notarization.

Bringing your family to Vietnam

It is possible to travel with your whole family to Vietnam, including spouses, children and pets. The best way to proceed is to ask your employer for guidance or to bring it up early in the interview stage so it can be worked into your formal contract. There is a large expat community in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with children of all ages and unique hobbies or clubs to keep everyone occupied while you are at work.

Useful links:

Vietnam economy hit by slumping exports and power blackouts | S&P Global

Vietnam Unemployment Rate 1991-2023 | MacroTrends

Foreign experts in Vietnam

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.