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Five sectors struggle to fill job vacancies in Vietnam

By Thi Ha   February 9, 2019 | 02:45 am PT
Five sectors struggle to fill job vacancies in Vietnam
The human resources demand for real estate and construction sector is expected to rise by 8 percent. Photo by VnExpress
Real estate, retail and information technology are among key sectors struggling to attract talent despite offering attractive salaries.

Construction and real estate

Recent statistics from global staffing giant ManpowerGroup show that the human resources demand for this sector is expected to rise by 8 percent over last year. Construction personnel will be required at all levels. In particular, companies are finding it difficult to attract senior personnel despite offering thousand-dollar salaries.

Lan, HR director of a real estate company in central Vietnam, said her company began recruiting business development managers early January 2019, but has not found anyone suitable despite offering a monthly salary of $2,000 as well as extensive benefits and commissions.

Real estate firms are also starved of department heads and deputy managers. Many businesses have reported looking in vain for months to fill these positions.


The retail sector, meanwhile, is having difficulty attracting personnel for both senior and entry positions. Salaries in this sector have increased significantly over the years. 

For instance, the salaries for sales or purchase directors in Vietnam, where GDP per capita in 2017 is $2,343, range from VND50-100 million ($2,154-4,308).

According to ManpowerGroup, recruitment demand of the retail industry will increase by 10 percent in 2019. This is one of the industries with the highest growth rates, but also high rates of staff turnover due to job-related pressures.  

Huong, HR director of a Thai retail group, said sales directors are always given high performance targets so there is much pressure. As a result, many candidates are forced to leave the positions after a trial period, unable to withstand the pressure of such.

Her company, for instance, hired two sales directors this year but was not able to retain either. 

Information technology

Personnel demand for this sector is expected to rise by 14 percent over 2018, the biggest increase in the research group. Many businesses are finding it difficult to find people to direct their technology departments. 

The HR director of a finance firm said that last year the company was looking for a Vietnamese chief technology officer (CTO) with a monthly salary of $10,000. However, it did not receive any applicants for three months, prompting it to try headhunting agencies.

"I hired a recruitment firm to find candidates, but they requested that the salary be raised to around $15,000-17,000. They finally found a foreign CTO for us." 

According to Nguyen Thu Trang, ManpowerGroup Vietnam's director of recruitment and HR consulting services, it is very difficult to find candidates who can fill CTO positions. High-quality workers in this area are so scarce that many startups in areas like e-commerce do not have them. 


The average salary in this sector is not high, but currently an education project director can earn $1,000 a month. In particular, in schools with private investment capital, this position can pay up to over $2,000.

According to the HCM City Human Resources Forecast and Labour Market Information Centre, many high-salary positions are now unmanned in this sector because of stringent requirements. 

With personnel demand for the sector set to rise by over 10 percent compared to 2018, the situation of senior positions remaining vacant for long periods is set to continue. 

One company in Hanoi said it has not been able to hire a director of education despite offering salaries of up to $2,500 per month.


Salaries for employees in this sector fluctuate between VND7-10 million ($301-430) per month. However a product development head is difficult to find, even with salaries in the $2,000-5,000 range.

Hoang, general director of a company in Ho Chi Minh City, said his company has been looking for a product manager for more than three months, offering a monthly salary of more than $2,000.

The position requires that the candidate has experience in strategic and business planning for new products, as well control of product management and product life cycle. They must also be able to evaluate and assess the position of products in relation to markets and customers, and compare and evaluate these with those that are offered by competitors. 

Candidates must be able to coordinate with the central management to develop policies for the company's products and customers, and participate in product development, research and improvements.

"I interviewed hundreds of candidates for this position but have not found anybody suitable. If we hire a foreign director, it will be hard for the company to meet the salary she/he will demand." 

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