HCMC small businesses struggle to hire workers

By Dat Nguyen, Dang KhoaOctober 6, 2021 | 04:08 am PT
Small businesses in HCMC are struggling to hire enough workers as migrants return to their hometowns, leaving the city after months of unemployment and plunging incomes.

Cuong’s garage in District 3 has filled up with customers’ motorbikes since it reopened last week. But, with only two employees, he has not been able to take full advantage of the high demand for mechanic services.

"Three of my employees who left for their hometowns have not been able to come back. Some of them have not been vaccinated," he said as he assisted his employees in fixing a motorbike.

Hiring new people has not been easy as many have left for other southern provinces and it takes some time to train a new person for the job, Cuong said.

"I am ready to take any hardworking man who has basic understanding of bike maintenance, but so far I have not found any."

A worker is seen at a motorbike maintenance shop in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Khoa

A worker is seen at a motorbike maintenance shop in HCMC's District 1, Oct. 5, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Khoa

Small business owners like Cuong are facing a severe labor shortage in Vietnam’s largest city, with tens of thousands of workers having left for other localities, frustrated by months of unemployment and depleting cash in hand.

Around 2.1 million out of 3.5 million workers in HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An want to return to their hometowns, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Thao in District 3 has not been able to have four of her employees return to her noodles shop.

"They told me they would stay on at their hometowns for a few months because they are afraid of getting infected with Covid-19."

All Thao’s family members therefore have been mobilized to run the shop. Her sister takes online orders and her husband collects cash, but neither of them have experience in doing these jobs.

"My husband was grumpy at first, but he has become more used to it now. I don’t know how the three of us can handle any increase in orders," said Thao, as she prepared servings for several takeaway customers.

With HCMC businesses needing up to 56,800 workers, the city’s Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has been trying to keep migrants in the city, including texting those who have left to invite them back.

The city’s 127 job centers will help connect businesses with workers and resolve shortages, said Nguyen Van Lam, deputy director of the department.

Chien in District 1 has found it very difficult to find replacements for five out of nine employees at his motorbike garage.

"I posted a recruitment notice online the other day but only one responded, saying he would come to try out next week." Chien said that because it is so hard to find an employee, he would take anyone who has received one vaccine dose.

"We have customers coming in every five or ten minutes in the afternoon, but we can’t serve them all."

go to top