Factories in southern Vietnam struggle to hire workers

By Le Tuyet   June 12, 2024 | 06:15 am PT
Factories in southern Vietnam struggle to hire workers
Workers seen in a garment factory of Thu Duc City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Many factories in southern Vietnam are having trouble hiring workers since prospective candidates prefer jobs that require low commitment and offer flexibility.

Vietnam Samho, a footwear supplier to Nike, has needed 1,500 workers in the last two months for its plant in HCMC’s outlying Cu Chi District but has been able to recruit only 300.

"It is stressful to be a human resources employee these days as hiring is increasingly difficult", Nguyen Thanh An, chairman of the company’s labor union, said.

An and his team have been traveling around southern Vietnam to hire people at a salary of VND7-8 million (US$275-314) a month. The company is also willing to pay for their transportation to HCMC.

But they have still struggled to complete the hire even as the company’s orders are increasing.

The HCMC Center For Employment Services said last month 49,000 jobs were available but only 8,500 people applied.

Almost 60,000 signed up for unemployment benefits, its data shows.

"There is increasing demand for workers at factories but it is a challenge to find people willing to work," Nguyen Van Hanh Thuc, director of the center, said.

Some companies need thousands of workers and have increased their maximum recruitment age to 40 or 45, but still only a small number of candidates are applying, she added.

HCMC’s neighboring industrial localities such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces are also facing similar struggles to recruit workers, especially their garment, footwear and wood products sectors.

Binh Duong data shows that over 3,200 companies sought 41,000 workers in the first five months.

Dong Nai factories last month needed 10,700 workers but there were not enough candidates.

Thuc said young people nowadays prefer jobs with high flexibility such as ride-hailing and delivering.

The increasing number of factories in provinces also dissuade people from moving to big cities where living expenses are higher, she added.

An said there is a perception that rural areas are "safer" after many workers were stuck in cities during the Covid-19 pandemic, and so many choose to live in their hometown.

Nguyen Duc Loc, head of the Institute of Social Life Research, said the changing economy is creating new kinds of jobs which make people feel there is no point in making a long-term commitment to a factory which could lay them off any time.

Many therefore prefer short-term jobs, he said.

"Workers are more selective in choosing a factory now."

Businesses that laid off people quickly in the past would now struggle to hire workers, he added.

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