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Real estate firms struggling due to lack of trained staff

Update: August, 24/2012 - 11:02

 

Investors at the Ecopark real estate trading floor in Ha Noi. Viet Nam is facing a serious shortage of well-trained staff in the real estate sector. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Lam
by Minh Thi

HA NOI — Poor human resources and management were among the reasons why real estate companies were facing so many difficulties, Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam National Real Estate Association, said at a conference held earlier this month.

His statement mirrored the same opinion held by Dr Nguyen Minh Ngoc, deputy head of the National Economics University (NEU)'s Real Estate and Resource Economics Faculty, who attributed failure in the real estate sector to low professionalism.

That was partly because the majority of people working in real estate did not receive proper training or any training at all, Ngoc said.

According to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (VNEconomy) e-newspaper, a survey conducted by Ernst and Young revealed that 70 per cent of people working in the real estate sector said they struggled to do business and benefit from the industry.

The Viet Nam National Real Estate Association said Viet Nam currently had 446 colleges and universities, but only a few offered proper training in real estate.

The country, therefore, was facing a serious shortage of staff professionally trained in real estate, especially those who met international standards.

Ngoc said the NEU was currently the only university with a real estate faculty.

There were only several other universities in Ha Noi and HCM City that taught real estate related subjects, while training centres only offered short-term courses that lasted a few months.

Ngoc said that society as a whole, including policy makers, was not aware of the importance of training in real estate.

Many people, including business owners, thought they just needed money and some experience to invest in real estate.

Real estate investors, Ngoc pointed out, made investments either through real estate brokers or following their own ideas of the real estate market.

"Some people do not even consider taking short-term courses, let alone going to university to get a degree."

Nevertheless, there were dozens of thousands of people working in real estate or real estate-related sectors and there were about 10,000 operating real estate brokerage agencies.

Nguyen Thanh Nam, a former real estate agent in Ha Noi, said he had a major in banking, but did not receive any training in real estate before he was employed by his former company.

"Most of my former colleagues did not study real estate at college, although they did have degrees in business administration or banking," Nam said, adding that real estate companies often did not require their employees to have a degree in real estate.

Dr Ngoc said every economy was dependent on the development of the real estate industry.

He added that in many countries including Singapore and Japan, training in real estate was deemed very important, and most economics and technical universities either had a real estate department or offered courses in real estate.

In these countries, training in real estate was regarded as important as banking and finance, but there were only a few hundred people receiving university-level training in Viet Nam each year as opposed to 25-30,000 people pursuing a major in banking or finance, said Ngoc.

"Only two third of these graduates pursue real estate as a profession, while the rest pursue other areas."

In the past four years, around 50,000 people have received short-term training in real estate and obtained certificates.

Ngoc said it was important to raise social awareness about the importance of training in real estate.

He added policy makers in particular must be more aware.

The Viet Nam National Real Estate Association said it would organise training courses in the third and fourth quarters of this year. The programme is currently recruting learners.

But Ngoc of the National Economics University said that his university was not involved in these programmes.

He said there was a lack of co-operation among universities that offered training in real estate and between those universities and State management organisations. — VNS

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