The Scarcity of IT Workers in Vietnam

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Within 3 years, the amount of work in the information technology (IT) sector of Vietnam has increased on average of 47% per year, but the number of worker in this sector rose by only 8% per year.

In recent years, the flows of high quality Vietnamese personnel that go abroad are increasing. In the first 10 months of 2015, total number of Vietnamese personnel that go to work abroad has hit a record of 100,000 people. However, alongside that is the critical shortage of quality human resources of domestic IT sector.

Japan is a large recruiting market for Vietnam IT workers. The declining in the excitement of Japanese young people for natural science professions has appeared for a long time. The technology sector of Japan is lack of about half a million engineers. This is part of the reason for the increasing demand for foreign labor recruitment, including Vietnam engineers.

Within 3 years, the amount of work in the IT sector of Vietnam has increased on average of 47% per year. But the number of workers in this sector increased by only 8% per year. Specifically, till 2020, if the growth rate of IT manpower stayed at 8%, Vietnam will face with a shortage of 78,000 engineers each year.

In the early 2000s, Vietnam has begun upgrading IT labor supply through many technology schools like the University of Science and Technology, University of Science and models of joint ventures with foreign like APTECH (India) or Genetic (Singapore). Just until 2007, the employers and the business sector assessed that the market for IT resources supply has saturated.

Less than a decade later, the shortage is continued to occur. Within the next 4 years, Vietnam would lack more than 500,000 IT engineers, accounting for over 78% of the total workforce that this sector needs.

Recently, the largest information technology event of 2015 titled “Tech Insider Expo” was held in Ho Chi Minh City with the participation of 42 recruiting companies and 12,712 candidates. Worth mentioning, most companies said that the labor supply is never enough.

As many employers sharing at the event, the number of 32,000 IT graduate students each year is still not fully met the needs of businesses. Some large companies like CSC or Lazada said they want to recruit 100 candidates this year, but they can only recruited less than 50% of the target. Furthermore, FPT Software had to come to Philippines, Myanmar… to recruit manpower.

In a recent survey by an online recruitment website specializing in IT, which is, in 61 large companies, 90% of foreign companies operating in this field said the shortage of skilled candidates have made their growth rate slow down. In addition, the main weakness of Vietnamese employees working in the IT sector is their English skill is not good. Hence, even among 32,000 IT graduate students each year, not many of them can satisfy the requirements of technology companies, especially foreign companies.

Obviously, there are four important points that Vietnam IT sector must change to develop the labor market. Firstly, the foreign language skills must be improved. Given that most of the IT companies in the fields of outsourcing are usually work for foreign customers, therefore the ability to communicate in English or Japanese is extremely necessary. It is more urgent when Vietnam joins the AEC and TPP in the near future, which is expected to bring bigger markets.

The next reason is the lack of updates about new technology because it has not integrated into IT curriculum. For example, the concepts such as Big Data, Mobile Programming, breakthrough technology in entrepreneurship and Open Source were very popular in the world but have not been popular in Vietnam.Next is the soft skills shortage. This is always the weaknesses of Vietnam manpower in general, but especially it is more important for the IT industry. The high positions in this sector require more than just technical knowledge. For example, the project management position will require skills in communication, presentation, presenting idea, convincing partner, time and schedule management… Not many IT people in Vietnam can satisfy these skills.

Lastly, the training programs for IT staff must be improved. The figures from a large Vietnam recruitment website show that 75% of jobseekers in the IT industry want a job that gives them the opportunity to be trained. But there is only 14% of IT job offers training opportunities. By meeting the training needs of staff, IT companies can create better quality human resources, along with connecting employees, making them more loyal to their company.

Also it is important to note that, not all IT employee could be qualified to work for foreign companies without passing employee background check which is important step to help manage risks of theft, violence and abuse.

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