Vũ Đại Thắng. — Photo MPI
Vũ Đại Thắng, deputy minister of planning and investment, speaks to Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam newspaper about the importance of a high-quality workforce to attracting FDI enterprises in high tech fields.
Foreign Direct Investment enterprises employ a high number of Vietnamese people, but most of them are unskilled, work on assembly lines and are unsatisfied with their jobs. Do you have an answer to the problem?
30 years have gone by since the concept of FDI was introduced to Việt Nam. At the beginning, FDI enterprises offered many jobs to Vietnamese people, and at that time employment was considered an advantage. But that advantage may have disappeared. In the past, a cheap labour force was considered one of Việt Nam’s advantages. But nowadays, if we compare workers’ salaries in Việt Nam with neighbouring countries we’ve fallen behind them. In the next 5-10 years, the cheap labour force will dry up and will no longer help the country to compete with regional neighbours.
However, Vietnamese workers at FDI enterprises have gained experience and technical skills. They have been sent on training courses and learnt soft skills, such as working attitude and behaviour in the working environment, among others.
Many Vietnamese farmers have become industrial workers, thanks to FDI contributions.
The advantages of Việt Nam’s cheap labour force are becoming less attractive, while demand for a highly skilled labour force is increasing. What should Việt Nam do to attract more capital from the FDI sector in the near future?
We realised this was happening a number of years ago. A resolution adopted by the Government in early 2012 listed three bottlenecks in the country’s economy that must be resolved immediately - infrastructure; institution and human resources.
Regarding human resources, the resolution pointed to the need to split workers into two groups: the general workforce and elite workers with university or post-graduate degrees. At present, FDI enterprises employ a significant number lot of general workers. When they were recruited, they were sent on training courses based on the demands of the enterprises. Many had already attended occupational training courses but were still unqualified for the jobs they were given.
In the near future, we will organise a workshop to review 30 years of FDI and how to attract more enterprises in the future, along with occupational training for Vietnamese workers.
Most foreign investors have a demand for highly skilled Vietnamese workers, but in reality, our country has a shortfall. What should we do to make investors stay?
Before making the decision to invest in a foreign country, investors want to know about the country’s tax system, production supply chains, land, institutions and human resources.
That’s why training is the most important factor for all countries looking to attract FDI. Authorities need to think about this in order to ensure more FDI projects are started. — VNS