Not enough jobs but not enough workers either: paradox plagues industry

September 23, 2022 - 09:17
The labour market faces a paradox: many workers are unemployed since their factories lack orders, but at the same time businesses seeking to expand cannot find enough labour.
Workers look for jobs at the 2022 Job Fair in HCM City at the end of August. — Photo

HCM CITY — The labour market faces a paradox: many workers are unemployed since their factories lack orders, but at the same time businesses seeking to expand cannot find enough labour.

Despite advertising for a month, Thuận Phương Garment and Embroidery Group has been unable to recruit 200 workers for its headquarters in HCM City’s District 6 and factories in districts 12 and Bình Chánh and in Long An Province. It offers incomes of VNĐ7-13 million (US$295-545) a month.

Duy Anh Foods Company in HCM City, which produces and exports noodles and rice paper, is in a similar situation: it wants to hire 250-300 workers but can only meet 60-70 per cent of that target.

It can increase exports by 30-40 per cent if it can hire enough workers, according to a spokesperson.

Chánh Thu Import-Export Limited Company, which locally trades and exports fresh fruits from Bến Tre Province, has been trying in vain to find enough workers to harvest durian.

It has only managed to fill 60 per cent of its needs despite early preparation, but admittedly it is extremely difficult for companies to find workers who are skilled in selecting and processing durian.

It has been able to meet only about 60 per cent of export orders.

"Fruit production has increased when export markets have also expanded, especially in China, the US and Japan.

"Therefore, the pressure to recruit workers will be enormous in the near future.

"If this situation continues, it will be difficult to manage the quality of agricultural exports."

Enterprises resort to various recruitment channels such as human resources agencies, social media and employment exchanges in districts, but simply cannot get enough applicants.

But at the same time, unlike at the beginning of the year, many businesses are facing cancellation of export orders because of inflation in markets such as the US and the EU.

The incomes of workers have fallen sharply, by up to 40 per cent in many cases, as a result.

Trần Trung Hà, 28, of the central province of Nghệ An, moved to Đồng Nai Province near HCM City in April in the hope of finding a well-paid job.

For the first two months, he got a good income of around VNĐ11 million a month, but since June his company's orders have been delayed or cancelled, causing his income too to plummet to just VNĐ6 million.

Many unemployed people are becoming choosier, comparing their previous salaries to new ones.

Lê Thị Trâm Anh, 22, who was laid off by a footwear company in May due to a lack of orders, is still looking for a job. Many garment companies need workers, but Anh only wants to work for a leather-footwear company.

Trần Việt Anh, deputy chairman of the HCM City Business Association, said the challenges are greater for companies that need a large number of workers, such as those in the garment and footwear industries and in services such as logistics, delivery, export-import, and others.

Many firms are unable to meet demand due to the shortage of labour, Nguyễn Văn Khánh, deputy chairman of the HCM City Shoe and Leather Industry Association, said.

"Up to 80 per cent of firms in the footwear and leather sectors needs workers.

"Many factories will lose orders if this shortage persists."

The HCM City Shoe and Leather Association encourages member enterprises to mechanise, he said.

Experts advise agricultural companies to first identify where workers are before building plants and work with local authorities to find workers. VNS