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VietNamNews

VN looks to modernise workforce ahead of automation

Update: December, 15/2016 - 09:00
Improving workforce skills has become a top priority as Việt Nam deals with the changing nature of work in the era of technology when many low-skilled workers will be at risk of losing jobs to automation. — Photo baovinhphuc.com.vn

HÀ NỘI – Improving workforce skills has become a top priority as Việt Nam deals with the changing nature of work in the era of technology when many low-skilled workers will be at risk of losing jobs to automation.

This is part of the answer to the question of "how Việt Nam will address changing technologies and skills needs in the labour market" - the theme of first National Policy Dialogue on Future of Work which was organised in Hà Nội by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Tuesday.

“Globalisation and technology revolution are posing increasingly greater challenges for Việt Nam’s economy,” said Deputy Minister of MoLISA Đào Hồng Lan, adding that the country’s labour force will grow from 55.5 million on 2016 to 62 million in 2025.

“In order to annually increase the demand for jobs, the economy needs to create roughly 650 thousand jobs, and structural labour changes will be one of the feasible ways to increase labour productivity,” she said.

Two of the country’s major and growing production sectors--textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) and electronic and electrical products (EE)--were at the heart of the debate.

A recent ILO study entitled “ASEAN in transformation – How technology is changing jobs and enterprises” showed that 86 per cent of Việt Nam’s TCF workers could face a high risk of automation, whereas about three quarters of wage workers in EE sector could be replaced by robots in the coming decades.

These are the country’s key exports, accounting for around 40 per cent of the total manufacturing jobs. TCF manufacturing is predominantly characterized by labour intensive and low-skilled production, and EE manufacturing targets low-value production and low-skilled assembly work.

The productivity gap in these sectors are alarmingly low – only 20 per cent of the level in Thailand and nearly the same as in Cambodia.

Technology will create significant opportunities for closing the productivity gap, improving competitiveness and bettering working conditions.

ILO Deputy Director for Asia and the Pacific, David Lamotte, said, “It will certainly shift in the coming years, as technology costs decline while labour costs increase.”

The ILO suggested Việt Nam enhance relevant workforce skills through close collaboration between policymakers, employers and training institutions to modernize the skills development system to meet changing workplace dynamics and new technology innovations.

“This will be important--particularly among girls and young women who are more susceptible to job loss than men - when automation becomes more popular in manufacturing industries,” he said. – VNS

 

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