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Voluntary unemployment not a problem, says labour official

Update: September, 29/2017 - 09:00

Đào Quang Vinh, director general of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, tells the Lao Động (Labour) Newspaper that voluntary unemployment is not something Việt Nam has to worry about.

If an employee is suddenly transferred by the employer to do a job that is not to his or her liking and decides to quit, would it be case of voluntary unemployment?

Many people misunderstand this as voluntary unemployment. If an employee quits after she or he is forced to do something that is not within her or his area of expertise, or working conditions become unbearable for some other reason, it is a case of that individual becoming unemployed.

Do such cases happen mostly with skilled workers?

It can happen to any group of workers, but in real life, it does occur usually with skilled workers who think it will be fairly easy for them to find another job.

What do you think about the problem of voluntary unemployment in our country at present?

I would say that the percentage of voluntary unemployment in our country at present is very small. The unemployment rate itself is not too high. Within the ASEAN bloc, we have the fourth-lowest unemployment rate after Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Our unemployment rate is even lower than that of Indonesia, the Philippines or Malaysia, at a time when it has climbed to as high as 20 per cent in many European nations.

So voluntary unemployment is not something we have to worry about? Is there a chance it will become a problem in the future, in the context of Việt Nam deepening its regional and international integration, and when more jobs are created?

As I said earlier, voluntary unemployment in our country is not high, but job availability is. This is a positive sign for any voluntarily unemployed people to find jobs.

I don’t think it will become a problem. When employment opportunities are wide open, voluntarily unemployed people will have more choices to choose from.

Whether or not voluntary unemployment increases depends on two main factors: employment opportunities and the match or mismatch between supply and demand. Good information about the labour market is very important for job seekers. It will help them select work and working conditions that suit their capacity and preferences.

Quite a few university graduates are apparently deciding to work as Grab or Uber drivers instead of looking for other jobs. Can you comment?

It is true that quite a few university graduates are not able to find the good jobs they’d expected. That’s why some chose to become taxi or motorbike drivers. Many even put their university diplomas in the trunk and look for jobs in factories or enterprises as workers. But this does not just happen here, it happens in many other countries as well.

As we know, universities train and provide basic knowledge on subjects so that students can deeper into the field of their choice later on. In other words, learning is a lifelong process. Universities just provide a foundation that students can build upon in choosing and advancing their careers.

What if the number of voluntarily unemployed people does increase? Will it create undue pressure on the unemployment insurance fund?

Workers pay into the unemployment fund when they are employed. When they are unemployed, they are entitled to receive unemployment insurance, of course. We’re now living in a market economy, so living on the dole is natural. I think that Việt Nam Social Insurance should review its services and ask if the job they have done has earned them the people’s confidence.

What would you tell those university graduates that are working as Grab or Uber drivers?

I think it is a matter of concern. In our society, many parents still think that their children must go to universities after completing their high school. But we all know that we are now facing a “redundancy of engineers and a shortage of workers.” There is an imbalance between supply and demand for certain types of jobs.

So, if any university graduate thinks that he or she is good at being a Grab or Uber driver, there’s nothing wrong with their decision. What’s more important is that the job they are doing is appreciated by the market and the society. — VNS

 

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