Public sector seeks to retain talent amid wave of worker resignations

August 18, 2022 - 07:40

“I gave up!”, said a medical worker who just quit his job at a public clinic in Thủ Đức City.


A medical staff member takes care of a child patient hospitalised in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY — “I gave up!”, said a medical worker who just quit his job at a public clinic in Thủ Đức City.

The man, who declined to give his name, said he made the decision in hopes of finding a new job with a better income.

He said he never wanted to mention the reasons why he quit because “it only makes me feel so depressed.”

While the salary was too low to secure his family’s living conditions, the job also required him to work more than 10 hours a day, making him constantly tired, both physically and mentally.  

“The work has been overloaded for years, especially during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Comparing his life to his friend’s life, he said his friend who went to the same university but works for a private medical facility in the city now has a more stable and comfortable life than him.

“I feel sorry for myself,” he said.

Both he and his wife had been working as nurses at a city-level hospital for the past five years. Their total combined monthly income was around VNĐ10 million (US$410), which is not enough for a family of four to survive.

“Since the pandemic, the incomes gradually decreased to a level that we could not even survive,” he said. “Besides low income, we are under serious stress because of too much overtime work.”

His wife was also desperate to quit. She more than once wanted to quit but she never dared to do because of her children who were young.

According to the city People’s Committee, low pay and benefits, low chance of promotion and high workload were cited as reasons why so many officials and government workers quit.

This issue has made the healthcare crisis even worse as the city’s health sector is also facing a serious shortage of medicines and equipment along with a shortage of public medical staff. 

Retaining workers a challenge

Huỳnh Thanh Nhân, director of the municipal Department of Home Affairs, said the battle for skills has never been more challenging and the public sector is now the most difficult market in which to attract and retain talent. 

The pay for workers in the public sector is low, while businesses in the private sector offer attractive wages, remunerations, and benefits to their staff, attracting a large number of highly qualified personnel from the labour market.

The public sector’s work environment also demands high discipline and demands workers to follow many regulations, he said.

Experts also said the public sector attracts thousands of new recruits each year. The challenge, however, is retaining that talent.

HCM City authorities have proposed that the Ministry of Home Affairs revamp its hiring methods and constantly cycle leaders through multiple departments to help them gain experience. 

The city has also requested better unemployment benefits and encourages those who lack either capabilities or health to retire early. 

In order to reduce the workload, the city has also suggested the government allow more workers to be hired.

The city authorities said they would continue improving their incomes, thereby nurturing their work motivation and encouraging their devotion.

Nearly 6,200 government workers in the HCM City quit in the first half of 2022, the highest number recorded in the last seven years.

The number of officials who quit in the first half was 2.4 times that in the entire last year, while the number of government workers who quit was 2.9 times that of 2021, according to the figures from the People’s Committee.

A total of 676 officials and over 5,500 government workers quit during the period. 

The man who quit his job still has yet to find a new job. “I know I can rely on hope only,” he said.

“If we did not have a house of our own in the city, my family would not have been able to survive the two years of pandemic,” he added. — VNS