HCM City faces big shortage of informal workers

November 06, 2021 - 08:57

With the economy recovering and production returning to normal, many HCM City businesses are now facing a serious shortage of informal workers, especially in the food and beverage business.


A coffee shop in HCM City’s District 3. Many food and beverages businesses in the city are severe shortage of workers since many returned to their hometowns and are yet to return. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Giang

HCM CITY — With the economy recovering and production returning to normal, many HCM City businesses are now facing a serious shortage of informal workers, especially in the food and beverage business.

Many shops, restaurants, other eateries, coffee shops, and others in the city have reopened but most lack workers and operate at less than full capacity.

Restaurants and other business establishments have posted recruitment notices for jobs such as waiters, sales staff and hairdressers seeking seasonal workers and employees working in shifts, and offer relatively high starting salaries of VNĐ4-6 million (US$176-264) per month.

Nguyễn Văn Hải, owner of a rice restaurant on Nơ Trang Long Street in Bình Thạnh District, said he had posted a notice for waiters early last month.

“I offered a high salary and free lunch but no one has applied.”

Nearly 90 per cent of his employees left for their hometowns after the latest COVID-19 outbreak and have not yet returned.

To operate, he needs at least 40 per cent of them.

It is very difficult to hire people since students have not yet started their new school year either, he said. 

“I am very worried about not being able to find enough employees in the near future.”

Đặng Xuân Sơn, an eatery owner on Giải Phóng Street in Tân Bình District, said he might have to find new workers to reopen since the old ones had returned home.

“We provide free lunch, accommodation and bonuses for holidays and Tết, but no one is applying."

Many other industries are also facing difficulties finding informal workers such as bricklayers, painters, babysitters, and domestic help.

Võ Thị Yến of Bình Thạnh District said she has been looking for a domestic help for a week but has not found one.

“My husband and I work all day, so our house has been very messy for the past two weeks.”

According to preliminary statistics from city authorities, the pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of informal workers to lose their jobs and leave the city for their hometowns.

Now most businesses are facing a severe shortage of part-time and seasonal workers.

Most informal workers have not yet returned to the city because of difficulties in travelling or fear about a lack of accommodation.

Some prefer to work in their hometown until Tết (Lunar New Year), which is approaching.

Informal workers rarely enjoy benefits such as social insurance and bonuses for public holidays and Tết, and so it is difficult for businesses to attract them, especially to work for a long time.

Võ Thị Tiền of Tân Phú District said she used to be a waitress but decided to quit and look for another job.

“I have applied for a job at a garment factory in Bình Tân District and expect to start working early next week.”

The Youth Employment Service Centre of HCM City said over the past month it has received a huge number of requests for unskilled workers from many business that offered high salaries and benefits. 

Many need to recruit a large number of employees, or people working in shifts with salaries of ranging VNĐ15,000-25,000 ($0.65-1.09) per hour, even VNĐ30,000 ($1.3).

But the number of applicants has not met their demand.

So co-ordination between businesses and employment exchanges and appropriate remuneration policies are needed to attract workers, according to the centre.

Phạm Thanh Trực, deputy head of the HCM City Export Processing Zones and Industrial Parks Authority (HEPZA), said 95 per cent of enterprises have resumed production and 210,000 out of 288,000 workers have returned to work so far.

Since October 1, when the city reopened, they have not been operating at full capacity to ensure safe production amid the pandemic, he said.

But many enterprises are expanding production, and so the demand for workers would increase rapidly in the near future, he added. — VNS