Renewable energy industry fails to meet increasing demand for staff

December 28, 2021 - 08:06

Việt Nam’s commitment to increasing its energy capacity using renewable sources will lead to increasing recruitment demand, especially in the next few years, but its human resources are not sufficient.


A solar power project in central Ninh Thuận Province. — VNA/VNS Photo 

By Thu Hiền

HCM CITY — Việt Nam’s commitment to increasing its energy capacity using renewable sources will lead to increasing recruitment demand, especially in the next few years, but its human resources are not sufficient.

Dr Nguyễn Trịnh Hoàng Anh, senior associate at the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition Social Enterprise, said: “Renewable energy is developing strongly in the country, leading to a need for more and more workers in the industry going forward.”

The Ministry of Industry and Trade in February released the draft proposal for the national power development plan for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2045, showing that the ratio of renewable energy (excluding hydropower) will increase to almost 30 per cent in 2030, while the ratio amended in the 7th Việt Nam Power Development Plann was only 16.3 per cent.

According to the COBENEFITS project, which is part of the International Climate Initiative led by the German Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, the demand for higher-skilled workers in the power sector is expected to grow by 31 per cent during the construction and installation phase, and 25 per cent for jobs in operation and maintenance by 2030.

“Energy is an industry that the Vietnamese Government has oriented in Việt Nam’s national energy development strategy… Therefore, quality human resources will play an important role in the sustainable development of this industry,” Gaku Echizenya, CEO at recruitment service Navigos Group, said in a report released in August.

Difficulty in recruitment

However, Dr Hoàng Giang, general director of Pacifico Energy Vietnam and vice chairman of Vietnam Clean Energy Association, said: “The industry faces a shortage of human resource in both quantity and quality. Việt Nam has not yet had many people trained professionally in the industry because several universities only started training two or three years ago.”

“The human resource working at the country’s existing wind and solar power plants and projects are foreigners who have trained in renewable energy, and Vietnamese people who have studied renewable energy majors abroad and returned. Moreover, there is another source, people who used to work in thermal power stations or fossil power plants in the country and have studied renewable energy majors.”

He said his company and others in the country could recruit electrical engineers and train them for working at renewable energy plants.

Ngô Thị Ngọc Lan, Navigos Search north regional director, said: “Many companies in the industry face difficulties in recruitment especially job positions of operation engineers and technical workers because they need a large number of these engineers and workers while there are not many in the labour market.”

Moreover, companies want to hire candidates with good English and professional knowledge. Skills in project management and team work and especially professional attitudes also are required.

“However, not many candidates meet these requirements,” she added.

A representative of a company hydropower project in Lai Châu Province said that the company wanted to hire local people to work in operational engineering. Although it paid a higher salary than most jobs for local people, it was still difficult to recruit.

The province has many hydropower projects so there is a competition in hiring operational engineers, he said. Solar energy projects also attract these engineers by paying higher salaries.

So the company has hired operational engineers from other provinces and cities to work in Lai Châu Province, he said, adding that “many of these engineers then quit the job.” 

Lan said that companies also found it difficult to hire managers for renewable energy projects because there were not many people with management experience in the industry.

In the country, several universities have majors in renewable energy including Hà Nội University of Sciences and Technology, Electricity Power University and HCM City University of Technology under Vietnam National University.

Dr Nguyễn Đức Tuyên, lecturer at the School of Electrical Engineering at Hà Nội University of Sciences and Technology, said that the school’s renewable energy training programme was taught in English to provide high quality human resources.

Chances for women

In a male-dominated industry, opportunities for women are increasingly arising.

Vũ Chi Mai, team leader of Renewable Energy Component at the Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit Vietnam, said: “Renewable energy is opening many employment chances for women. There are many different job positions such as administration, human resources and others in renewable energy. Women can work in counselling services, or on assessment for environmental impact, or finances.”    

At Việt Nam Electricity (EVN), for example, 40 per cent of staff are women, Mai said.

According to Lan of Navigos Search, the company has recruited several women for renewable energy projects. Many are now leaders and managers in the projects.  

Tuyên said that of his school’s 700 students, 4 per cent were female. “Female students are paying attention to studying the major of renewable energy,” he added. — VNS