Tuesday, May 30 2017

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Job quality more important than unemployment rate

Update: April, 15/2017 - 09:52
Đào Quang Vinh. — Photo ZIng.vn

Dr Đào Quang Vinh, director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, under the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs, speaks to Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper on the importance of job quality.

It has been reported that some 220,000 university graduates are unemployed. What should they do to get jobs?

The unemployment rate in our country at present is about 2.3 per cent. But the unemployment rate in urban areas is higher – between 3.2-3.2 per cent. According to international standards, that is a very low unemployment rate. In the US, the unemployment rate is between 5-7 per cent, Italy 17-18 per cent and Spain 20 per cent.

But, what I care about most is job quality. The number of people with jobs in our country is very high, but their income is low. Many of them cannot live on their wages. Meanwhile, in other countries, the wage of a working people is enough to cover family expenses, including their family members’ social insurance, school fees and more.

In my opinion, job quality is closely linked to the country’s economic situation, including its investment in science and technology, infrastructure and the growth model. For example, in our country, people with high skills are assigned to work in a production chain requiring high expertise. Of course, their salaries are much higher than those of low skilled or unskilled workers.

What should we do to improve employment quality?

As we all know, our economic structure has been shifting so that we can achieve high economic growth together with high quality. This is a pre-requisite for our economy. At first, we called for foreign investment, then the development of different occupations and areas that we are strong in, including science and technology. But now, our foreign investment policy has changed toward high technology and environmentally friendly, not growth at all costs as before. This means that there will be fewer chances for unskilled workers to get jobs. So, to get a job with high salary, young people must learn a new skill.

We all agree that job quality is closely linked to occupational training. At the onset of the upcoming examinations to enter colleges or universities in late June, do you have any recommendations for 12th graders?

An important message I want to send to students is to think twice about the university/college or vocational school that they want to attend. They should also study the labour market, particularly its tendency in 2017 and the years to come.

As I have mentioned above, in recent years, many university graduates struggled to find jobs while many graduates from vocational schools were employed immediately after graduation. Regrettably, quite a few university graduates who could not find jobs matching their training have accepted unskilled work.

Recently, a representative of the General Department of Vocational Training suggested applying quotas in tertiary education. Do you think this will attract more students to vocational training?

No, I don’t agree with that idea. Introducing a quota in tertiary education could be considered as the “ask and give” mechanism which was popular during the years of State subsidisation (before 1986).

It is common practice worldwide nowadays in tertiary education to tightly control the outputs, not the inputs. Full autonomy is given to some tertiary education institutions while government management agencies strictly monitor their outputs. In other words, institutions have to take responsibility for the certificates they award.

In short, what we have to do is to adopt policies to encourage talented students to go to universities and after graduation they will be recruited by employers.VNS

 

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