Many Vietnamese engineers have professional skills as good as those of foreign engineers working for Samsung. — Photo vneconomy.vn
Nguyễn Mại, Professor and Chairman of Việt Nam’s Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises talks to the newspaper Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Việt Nam Economic Times) about Việt Nam’s need to develop a high quality human resource
What makes you think positive about the Vietnamese human resources in the course of international integration?
I don’t quite agree with some comments saying that our human resource is at an alarming level. Frankly speaking, the quality of our human resource is varied from one industry to another. For example, at present our labour force works in the agro-forestry sector accounts for more than 50 percent. As a result, it makes the average productivity in the whole society very low. However, in 2018 we need to conduct a thorough study so that we can come up with precise evaluation.
There are three quality approaches towards the Vietnamese human resources
First is the tertiary education. Training methodology has changed between the universities and the enterprises. Regrettably, our country has good education models, yet their implementation is too slow. The responsibility should be on the concerned Government agencies. However autonomous universities have adapted to the new requirements very quickly as they are given more rights to do things they want and have shown more responsibility towards the society in training high quality human resources.
Second, it is the quality of the graduates from universities where their lecturers are also Vietnamese. In the past, in some key construction projects, we did ask for support from foreign experts. But nowadays, we can do it by ourselves. As a result we have saved quite a lot of money and time.
And third, thanks to deep international integration we have learned quite a lot from our foreign friends. In 2017, Việt Nam’s import-export turnover was more than US$450 billion, ranking 25th internationally and 2nd in ASEAN in term of export. If we just look at the ranking of 6 ASEAN nations having exported goods to the United States, in 2014 Việt Nam ranked the 1st against Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. And by now Việt Nam still takes the lead among the ASEAN exporters to the US.
In 2017, the export turnover between Việt Nam and South Korea recorded an increase of 35 per cent. As we all know South Korea is a very demanding market in terms of competitive prices.
All in all I can say that Việt Nam should not worry about its human resources in the course of international integration.
How do foreign investors rate the quality of our human resources?
Foreign enterprises in Việt Nam, particularly the Samsung Electronics, by 2018 they have invested in Việt Nam for 10 years. At the beginning investment was about US$650 million, but now its investment has jumped to $13 billion – an increase of 20 times. If at the beginning Samsung employed some 7,000 Vietnamese workers, now the figure has jumped to 175,000 workers.
Among the 175,000 workers only 160,000 workers are general workers and the remaining are technicians and engineers. Many Vietnamese engineers have professional skills as good as those of foreign engineers working for Samsung.
High quality human resources is a good opportunity for Việt Nam as it is now a member of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
According to a survey conducted by the Association of Foreign Investors in Việt Nam, the weakest point in the Vietnamese human resources is the shortage of CEOs – people having high skills. Regrettably, at present, Việt Nam does not have any training institution for CEOs. This is good food for thought for Việt Nam.
To train high quality human resources, what policies should Việt Nam have?
Việt Nam has a high political will to reform the State apparatus and its administrative procedures. But, the biggest obstacle we’re facing is our cumbersome apparatus and the public employees’ incompetency in performing their assigned duties. So in my opinion, Việt Nam needs to restructure the State apparatus and to improve the quality of the public servants so that they can raise their work performance. — VNS