Many tech firms to expand IT teams

Update: February, 09/2018 - 19:00
A tech company in Việt Nam. Photo: Powergate Software
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY— Many tech firms this year are expected to add up to 10-50 per cent more employees to their IT teams as prospects for the country’s IT industry are bright, according to  recruitment companies.

A survey conducted of 49 tech firms on the IT recruitment website that was released on January 31 showed a majority of tech firms in Việt Nam say the country has great advantages as an IT hub, including highly skilled programmers, reasonable labour costs and political stability.

More than 81 per cent said Việt Nam has a larger labour pool and lower labour costs than other countries considered, and 75 per cent said Việt Nam’s IT engineers scored higher than their peers in other countries in terms of technical skills.

Sixty-nine percent of the tech firms said they would expand their IT teams by 10 per cent to 50 per cent in the next 12 months. Nine per cent plan to increase IT staff by more than 50 per cent.

Senior developers who can think creatively and propose ways to solve problems are the most in demand. Fifty-five per cent of IT companies said they wanted to hire senior developers first before other positions.

Chris Harvey, CEO of ITviec, said: “Việt Nam is becoming a tech hub not only of Southeast Asia, but also the world. Foreign IT companies increasingly are entering Việt Nam, and local companies like and VNG are growing rapidly.”

Michael Lobb, director of Teamscāl Pty Ltd, an Australian-invested company that entered HCM City in 2013, told Việt Nam News via email that the company would expand its IT team by 10-30 per cent in the next 12 months.

And at Robust Tech House, a Singapore-based firm which began operating in HCM City in 2014, said the company’s IT team would grow by 30-50 per cent this year, according to Michelle Koh, the company director.

According to a 2018 salary survey conducted by Robert Walters, a specialist professional recruitment consultancy, increased salaries and strong demand for junior and senior IT developers, especially those proficient in .Net, PHP and Java, are expected to continue this year.

As more businesses continue to adopt Agile and scrum methodology, demand is set to rise for project managers who display a solid understanding of these principles, the survey said.

With the use of big data steadily rising across Việt Nam’s major sectors, highly proficient developers will continue to be sought this year, it added.

Lobb of Teamscāl Pty Ltd said: “There is a high supply of IT professionals but we have candidates applying with a limited view of what is important to meet international standards.”

In general, engineers are capable of fitting into local roles, but miss the mark when dealing with international clients, he said.

“With more international companies basing themselves in Việt Nam, we expect this to improve, but it will take time,” he said.

There is a large gap between engineers who have and don’t have international experience, Lobb said, adding that this is evident in several areas, such as thought leadership, communication levels, English skills, and overall attitude towards accepting different ideas.

There is a small but growing, group of engineers who have the attitude and capability to contribute at an international level, he said.

Koh of Robust Tech House said: “There is a big IT sector in HCM City. Being an attractive industry to work in, many people are jumping in, but some of them are without sufficient qualifications, training or experience. So while the pool is big, the really good ones make up only a subset of it. If we further narrow it down by specific skills, coupled with high demand from all over the world, it is no wonder that companies end up fighting for or having to sift through candidates to find the gems.” 

The nature of the industry is that it evolves quickly, Koh said, adding that some technologies become ‘in’ such as blockchain, AI and chatbot, while others go out of fashion.

There is a demand gap while people pick up new skills to cope with new demands, she added.

Increased salary

The survey by found that salaries for new engineers are increasing.

Forty-five per cent of the companies surveyed said that wages for new IT hires rose by 10-20 per cent over the past 12 months.

Thirty-seven per cent said payments for new IT workers rose by up to 10 per cent, while 16 per cent said they went up more than 20 percent.

Despite higher salaries, Vietnam remains competitive. Ninety-four percent of respondents said that Vietnam’s “value for cost” is still higher than comparable countries.

The Robert Walters’ survey showed that those moving to other jobs generally received salary increments of 20-25 per cent. — VNS