A job you can’t really bank on

By Hoang Nguyen   June 20, 2018 | 05:00 am PT
A job you can’t really bank on
Vietnamese banks are finding it tough to recruit new staff despite offering good salaries and perks. Photo by Reuters
Vietnamese banks are finding it tough to recruit new staff despite offering good salaries and perks.

It was a job that paid well, and she was given extra responsibilities, but Thao’d had enough. She quit her job at one of the top state-owned commercial banks five months ago.

The 27-year-old had worked for the bank for four years since her college graduation. But the policy of squeezing employees and extracting extra work got to be too much. Thao said she was overworked and stressed out, and couldn’t take it anymore.

“Since there was a change in management and organization, work kept stacking up. I had to hold two positions at the same time,” Thao, who does not want to reveal her full name, told VnExpress International.

She was initially recruited as a corporate lending relationship officer, but later when her office expanded, she was asked to undertake another position – that of data administrator, because of limited manpower.

The heavy workload required her to be in the office from 7 a.m. until 8-9 p.m. every day. Apart from the hectic schedule, bad management also intensified her stress levels. After one year of juggling multiple responsibilities, she quit.

Thao said many of her ex-colleagues have also quit because they were uncomfortable at being rotated too often too soon, and asked to fill in gaps because the bank had not been able to recruit new staff.

A recent Thanh Nien newspaper report cited statistics of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) released in January showing that 25.3 per cent of the country’s credit organizations were short of employees.

The SBV also said more than 52 percent of banks planned to increase their staff in the first quarter and 68.7 percent said they will recruit more employees for the whole year.

Many banks across the country have sought to hire thousands of people this year to make up for high employee turnover in the period after Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year which fell on February 16 this year), to boost performance and to tap new opportunities in e-commerce and online payments.

Nam A Bank, for instance, is seeking to recruit 1,000 employees for many different positions. Vietcombank, VPBank, VietinBank and Sacombank are all trying to fill hundreds of vacant positions this year.

According to a banking workforce survey published earlier this year by recruitment firm Navigos Group, despite paying employees average salaries of VND10 – 30 million ($400-1,320) per month, nearly 90 percent of the surveyed banks still find it difficult to recruit and retain staff.

“Banking jobs are very stressful ones, especially for sales positions in which employees must hit high sales targets and expand customer base,” Nguyen Minh Luan, team leader in the HR consultancy department at executive recruitment firm Harvey Nash Vietnam, told the Thanh Nien newspaper.

Nguyen Anh Vu, deputy head of academic affairs department of Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Banking, said fresh graduates with little or no experience can hardly take on fulltime sales positions which many banks are looking for, as they are very demanding in terms of targets.

“But experienced and good sales persons are usually ‘hunted’ by other banks which are willing to offer them high salary and incentives,” he said.

Vo Thanh Trung, a consumer lending relationship officer at an ACB branch in the southern province of Binh Duong, said it took him three months to secure his first contract.

“At first I did not know what to do as I could not find customers anywhere. Fortunately, my boss was very supportive or else I would have quit a long time ago,” he said.

After three years, Trung has got better at his job and target is not a problem anymore. Though the current working environment and company’s benefits are all good, he does not rule out the possibility of jumping ship if another bank offers him a higher pay.

Vu from the Banking University said in order to solve the human workforce crisis, HR managers from banks have visited several universities to recruit talents.

In fact, students who work as interns could be an important source for banks to select fulltime employees, HR experts have said.

The Navigos survey also found that nearly 40 percent of the employers would consider offering financial incentives to increase the efficiency of recruitment.

Meanwhile, 56 percent said they had basic and reasonable policies for employees that could be further improved upon to attract new staff.

Thao is not impressed.

She has just got an offer from another bank and will go back to the workplace in a week after a five-month break.

She is hoping for a less stressful work environment and a more supportive manager.

“If you asked me if I would have stayed at the previous bank if they’d given me a raise, my answer is still no,” she said.

Thao said she would rather to work less hours for less money rather than spend 13 hours a day for a high-paying job where she can’t find any time to spend her money.

“In the end, what is the point of making money, right?”

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