Int'l businesses want Vietnamese IT talent amid shortage

By Nguyen Hang   October 1, 2023 | 08:37 pm PT
Int'l businesses want Vietnamese IT talent amid shortage
A developer works on a laptop. Illustration photo by Pexels
Foreign companies are recruiting Vietnamese IT talent with salary offers of up to VND4 billion a year ($164,400), but the search is challenging due to a shortage of suitable candidates.

Hoang Luc, who works for a recruitment firm in Japan seeking Vietnamese recruits, said that in recent years the demand for Vietnamese talents has been surging, but supply is low.

"Since 2014 I have been seeing a rising need for IT staff as companies deploy more digital projects. Vietnamese people quickly adapt to the fast changes in the technology world and are therefore sought after."

In the last four years, Luc has been focusing on bringing Vietnamese talent to Japan, but she has found that finding the right candidate is not always easy.

"For some key positions that determine the success of a project, there was one case in which a Japanese company was willing to pay up to VND4 billion for the right person, but we could not find a suitable Vietnamese candidate, so it ended up hiring a Singaporean."

A recent report by IT recruitment firm TopDev said that a senior IT staff can ask for a salary of at least VND60 million a month.

Another report by recruitment firm ITViec found that developers with four years of experience or more can receive between VND42 million and VND70 million a month.

Many IT talents living in Vietnam are working for Japanese companies, as the country reportedly accounts for 70% of offshoring by Japanese companies.

Vietnamese headhunter Nguyen Thuy Trang said that her company has been looking for senior candidates for jobs that pay over $4,000 a month.

Suitable applicants, however, are rare, she said.

"We just found a Vietnamese IT engineer who can take up a job that we never thought would be filled by a Vietnamese candidate. In this sector such talents are very rare and companies are willing to spend big bucks on them."

FPT Digital, a unit of tech giant FPT, has reported that although there are around 400,000 IT engineers in Vietnam, plus around 50,000 college students graduating with IT degrees annually, only 30% of them meet the requirements of businesses, revealing a gap between training and work.

Vietnam’s IT staff only accounts for 1.1% its workforce, compared to India’s 1.78%, South Korea’s 2.5% and the U.S.’s 4%. This shows that there is potential for further development IT human resources.

Thuy Dung, a recruiter, said that amid a shortage of high-quality talent, Vietnamese companies have in recent years been competing for the best staff by offering higher pay.

The pay gap between local and foreign companies is now around 10-15% for the same position, she added.

But Luc said that for now, capable IT talents prefer to work for foreign companies. where pay and benefits are better.

In Japan, for example, an experienced IT specialist from Vietnam can get between $4,700 and $8,000 a month if they have more than seven years of experience in the digital banking-finance industry, meaning that they are paid the same as a local.

A recruitment firm that finds a suitable candidate can even receive 35-40% of the candidate’s salary as compensation.

"IT firms are willing to spend large sums on high quality talents because they will get back much more from their investment."

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