HCM City textile, garment and footwear industries face labour shortage

July 08, 2022 - 08:27
HCM City is facing a serious shortage of labour in the textile and garment and footwear industries since many workers have been moving to others due to low incomes.
Many textile-garment and footwear workers in HCM City are moving to other industries for better incomes, especially amid the rising prices in the city. — Photo thanhnien.vn

HCM CITY — HCM City is facing a serious shortage of labour in the textile and garment and footwear industries since many workers have been moving to others due to low incomes.

Thành Công Textile Garment Investment Trading JSC has been trying to hire workers to expand its production, but is struggling to do it since its salaries and bonuses are not considered high enough.

Nguyễn Hữu Tuấn, its human resource director, was quoted by VnExpress newspaper as saying workers do not consider the textile and garment industry attractive any more.

Many of the company’s workers have switched to other, higher paying jobs, while many are also moving out of the city due to rising expenses, he said.

“Finding new textile and garment workers is very difficult… The lack of workers is preventing factories from reaching their full production capacity. Production lines with new workers are also not productive since they are still inexperienced.”

Phan Thị Minh Thu, deputy director of Vĩnh Phong Footwear Co., Ltd., said the number of workers at its factory has dropped from over 1,000 to 300 in the last two years, and it is also having problems finding replacements.

The business is unable to get new customers since it lacks workers to take in new orders, she said.

Textile and garment and footwear, among Việt Nam’s most labour-intensive industries, are facing labour shortages after COVID amid high demand for goods, with some losing hundreds of workers every year.

In HCM City alone, the two industries have more than 20,000 new vacancies annually but can only find 1,000 in recent years.

Nguyễn Thị Thủy, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Textile and Garment Labour Union, said businesses are getting plenty of new orders but lack labour, and so could only accept small orders.

Factories are struggling to employ young workers, while existing workers are usually well over 40 and could not find other jobs, she said.

“Businesses have been investing in new technologies to fulfil orders, but skilled staff to operate such machinery are also hard to come by.”

The textile and garment and footwear industries have high export revenues and contribute greatly to the economy, but in recent years universities and colleges have not been churning out enough graduates to meet their demand, she said.

Lê Duy Bình, CEO of economic development agency Economica Việt Nam, said there is a trend of workers leaving the two industries to pursue jobs in other well-paying industries such as electronics and tourism.

They would have to restructure and stop relying on cheap labour like now since that would no longer be available.

The current labour shortage would force them to focus more on production stages with high added value such as raw materials, designing and brand building, he said.

In 2021 HCM City had over 376,000 workers in the two industries, accounting for 13 per cent of the total number in the city. — VNS