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Good jobs hard to find for returning workers

Update: July, 21/2014 - 10:00

Every year some 80,000 go abroad to work.— File Photo

Compiled by Le Hung Vong

Thousands of workers struggle to find a suitable job after returning home to Viet Nam despite having good skills and experience of working abroad for years.

Nguyen Trong Vinh of Ha Tinh Province's Duc Tho District, who had worked as a welder in South Korea, is one of hundreds of such workers seeking a suitable job at a trading session held recently by a labour supply company in Ha Noi.

After trying for a whole year to find a job as a welder at a shipyard – the same work he did in Korea – he now does odd jobs to earn his daily bread.

"I wish to return and work in South Korea or work at a foreign-invested enterprise that allows me to fully tap the skills and experience and the foreign languages I learned when working abroad," he told Vietnam News Agency.

Tran Van Long of the northern province of Vinh Phuc worked for six years in South Korea for a plastic manufacturer who paid him over US$2,000 a month. But since returning home over a year ago he has been working for a plastic company in Bac Ninh Province for just VND2.5 million (less than $250) a month.

"I found it difficult to get a good job with a high salary in Viet Nam while there are few opportunities to return to work in South Korea," he said.

Former guest workers returning to Viet Nam also find it hard to get information about demand for workers at foreign firms in the country.

That was the reason why many Vietnamese workers would like to find a job in South Korea when their labour contracts expire, Long said.

According to the Overseas Labour Management Department, Viet Nam has around 560,000 workers in 30 industries in 49 countries and territories.

Every year some 80,000 go abroad to work.

Only 0.18 per cent of them are experts while 43 per cent are skilled workers, and over 56 per cent are manual labourers.

Nearly 49 per cent of them work in the seafood processing industry, over 6.2 per cent in the maritime transport sector, and 15.2 per cent in households.

But their skills and experience are not utilised when they return to Viet Nam.

A study by the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs has found that while over 80 per cent of people can find a job soon after returning home, only 10 per cent find suitable jobs (connected with the work they did abroad), indicating a huge wastage of talent.

"This is a big waste since foreign-invested enterprises in the country have big demand for this workforce," a representative of Manpower Viet Nam Ltd said.

The Foreign Labour Management Department has said that authorities in 50 of the country's 63 provinces and cities do not inform about the number of workers returning from abroad and have no policies to support this group.

Most of the returnees have to look for information and jobs on their own.

But labour export remains "encouraging" as 55,205 workers have gone abroad so far this year, a 138.5 per cent rise over 2013.

Rice exports down

Viet Nam exported 3.26 million tonnes of rice in the first half of 2014, down 8.3 per cent compared with the same period of last year, according to figures released at a meeting between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Vietnamese Food Association (VFA) in HCM City on July 15.

Nguyen Hung Linh, Chairman of the VFA, said traditional buyers such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia have purchased much rice from Viet Nam in the first months of the year and negotiated for more purchases in the second half of the year.

At another meeting in Can Tho on July 14, many rice exporters who are not members of the VFA said the association was restricting the rice business, especially in markets having government-to-governments contracts.

They said they were unable to ship the grain to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines since government-to-government contracts had been signed by the VFA.

Pham Thai Binh, director of Trung An Company, said non-member enterprises are not able to export rice to these countries due to VFA regulations.

He said in the first half of this year his company's exports totalled US$14 million, down $4 million from the same period last year.

Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Can Tho Department of Trade and Industry, said enterprises could not sign deals to export to these markets when the VFA was negotiating with them.

They could do so subsequently.

"But many enterprises said they faced difficulties placed in their way by the VFA when they registered to export rice to these markets," Toai told Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Saigon Economic Times)newspaper.

Rice traders also said that the country should diversify and expand to markets such as Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and the US to reduce the huge dependence on the Chinese market.

Unsold property stocks

Despite the launch of more housing projects, unsold inventory has been decreasing steadily since the fourth quarter of last year, according to property consultancy CBRE.

According to figures CBRE released at a recent seminar in HCM City, unsold stock in HCM City shrank from nearly 18,000 units at the end of last year to over 16,000 in Q2 of this year.

In Ha Noi the drop has been from 21,000 to 19,000.

"Unsold stock was concentrated in the affordable segment in HCM City due to extremely slow construction of some existing projects driven by financial shortage," Marc Townsend, managing director of CBRE Viet Nam, told the seminar.

The high inventory in the affordable segment was mainly due to increasing supply and large unit sizes (over 80sq.m) leading to high unit prices of around $56,000, he said.

In HCM City real demand outstriped supply, he said.

According to the General Statistics Office, there are 4.1 million people of above 15 years of age in HCM City while CBRE assumes there are 3.1 million in the working age of above 18 years.

Townsend said it is assumed that 10 per cent of employed people need houses, including 40,000 new married couples each year. — VNS.

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