HCM CITY— Better work conditions and higher wages are necessary to attract new employees, experts said at a workshop held earlier this week.
Currently, a shortage of both unskilled and skilled workers and staff exists in HCM City, with the city needing an additional 40,000 employees in May, according to Tran Anh Tuan, deputy head of the HCM City Centre for Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information.
Of that number, unskilled employees working in the services, textiles, garments and footwear industries account for 70 per cent.
According to the centre, the average number of unskilled and skilled labour needed will be 300,000 per year until 2015.
Low wages to blame
Low wages were the main reason for the shortage, Tuan added.
The centre's figures on wages among 1,130 companies during this year's first quarter show that more than 62 per cent of them paid a salary below VND2 million (US$105) per month. Most workers prefer at least VND2 million per month or more.
Seventy per cent of workers in industrial and export processing zones in HCM City come from other provinces, according to Nguyen Tan Dinh, deputy head of HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authorities.
Stable work and sanitary, safe working conditions are the employees' top demands.
Many workers complain of shoddy living conditions in the rooms that they rent near the industrial and export processing zones in HCM City, which lack apartment buildings for workers. Entertainment and education opportunities are also lacking.
An official of the city Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DoLISA) said that wages for workers in Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces were higher than those in the city.
Better apartments at affordable prices were available in these provinces, Dinh said, adding that entertainment areas, kindergartens and supermarkets also had been built in industrial parks there.
More and more workers were choosing to work in other provinces because of better living and working conditions.
Tuan said companies in HCM City must improve working conditions and offer more job training to reduce the shortage of workers. The State should also develop better strategies and outline ways to attract and retain more workers, he added.
Nguyen Van Xe, deputy head of DoLISA, said the city People's Committee had asked the department to work with other agencies to create a new employment strategy.
Nearly 64 per cent of companies in Viet Nam ranked employee retention as the number one human resources challenge in 2010, according to a survey by the Navigos Group, a leading executive recruitment solutions provider.
The survey, conducted in the first quarter of this year, queried 168 foreign and local companies.
"For many employers in Viet Nam, 2009 was a year of prudent belt-tightening in the HR budget. However, when the economy started turning mildly positive, we realised that many of our clients started planning for their workforce," Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Navigos managing director, said.
Retention continues to be a problem. "Vietnamese employees aggressively pursue opportunities to accelerate their career track by looking to senior positions, challenging work, interesting assignments, training and development, and competitive pay," said Anh.
In addition, 57 per cent of respondents agreed that hiring the best talent was a big challenge in 2010, ranking this issue as second among the top five challenges of 2010.
"It has never been easy to find the right and best talent in the Viet Nam market and the situation will remain unchanged in the near future," said Anh.
Career development management, attracting candidates to organisations and succession planning, filled in the rest of the top five 2010 HR challenges, with 54.3 per cent, 44.1 per cent and 38.3 per cent of the votes, respectively.
"The findings of the survey as well as recent observations indicate that getting the right people in the right job with the right skills and having them stay and grow are the missions which will keep HR personnel busy in 2010," she said.
Seventy-two per cent of the respondents said their HR budget increased in 2010, with the highest increase at 120 per cent and the lowest at 2 per cent.
Only 3 per cent of the respondents said their budget was cut and 13 per cent of the respondents said it had remained the same.
At least 133 respondents, accounting for 67 per cent of total responses, said that they planned to increase their employee headcount in 2010, while 8 per cent said their plan was to reduce.
"It is likely that the employment market is heating up again, and possibly will become an employees' market," Anh said.
"However, we've observed that our clients, though hiring practices, have and will become more selective and efficient in order to maintain competitiveness." —VNS