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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        6   June 2011

Severe labor shortage in Vietnam

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Foreign-direct invested (FDI) and domestic enterprises in industrial parks and export processing zones will need a total of 100,000 workers to meet demand for existing and newly established enterprises from now until 2015, according to the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA).

Half of the total recruitment would be for new projects to cover 500 ha of land in IPs and EPZs during the 2011-15 period, said Nguyen Tan Dinh, deputy head of HEPZA.

Electricity, electronics, mechanics, information technology and medical chemistry would attract most of workers in the next five years, Dinh said at a meeting on human resource development in IPs and EPZs, co-organised by HEPZA and the HCM City National University.

Female workers would account for 60 percent of the total, Dinh said.

The demand for skilled workers is forecast to be 38,000, accounting for 38 per cent of the total demand in the next five years.

The number of new graduates from universities, colleges and vocational schools are sufficient to meet the demand of skilled workers in IPs and EPZs in the city, with around 100,000 graduates from universities and colleges and 50,000 graduates from vocational schools every year.

However, enterprises in neighbouring provinces such as Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau are competing with those in HCM City to attract skilled workers.

Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone, for example, failed to recruit 200 skilled workers in mechanics, as expected early this year, with applications accounting for only 60 percent of recruitment target.

Most enterprises have to provide workers with short-term training courses to ensure that they are qualified for the jobs.

The Renesas Design Viet Nam Co Ltd in Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone employed workers with at least university degrees, with a total of 600 workers, said Ho Thi Ngoc Ha, human resources manager of the company.

The company offered courses to newly recruited workers who lacked skills in working, foreign languages and practical knowledge after university graduation.

It also worked closely with universities in the city to help lecturers and students access advanced technology and equipment as well as knowledge.

Foreign enterprises send more than 6,000 workers to parent companies abroad for training courses up to one year in order to reduce the number of foreign specialists in the companies in Vietnam. Japan receives most of the Vietnamese workers sent for training, with 4,000 workers, followed by South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and mainland China.

Enterprises and schools should work together so that both sides would benefit, said Phan Huu Tan Duc, director of the vocational centre under Nguyen Tat Thanh University.

Students, for example, could have the opportunity to use modern equipment and advanced technology at companies, while companies would not need to train workers after they were recruited.

In addition, HEPZA should ask enterprises to provide plans on human resources so that vocational training schools can satisfy company demand.

In HCM City, more than 252,500 workers are employed by 1,044 FDI and domestic enterprises at 13 IPs and EPZs. Intensive labour industries like textiles and garment, footwear and electronics enterprises attract 64.6 per cent.

Manual workers account for more than 83 percent, and workers with vocational training, 8.9 per cent.

Only 6.7 percent of workers are graduates from colleges and universities. Migrant workers account for 70 percent of the total workforce at IPs and EPZs.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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