Workers need jobs, but firms find recruitment difficult

By Le Tuyet   September 18, 2022 | 02:56 am PT
Workers need jobs, but firms find recruitment difficult
Workers at the Thuan Phuong factory. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong
Many workers have been laid off due to downsizing and need new jobs, but companies keep complaining it’s difficult to hire new people. The conundrum persists in Vietnam’s labor market.

Over the past month, the Thuan Phuong Embroideries and Garments company has been trying to recruit 200 workers at its headquarters in District 6 and other factories in the districts of 12, Binh Chanh and Long An. Depending on workers' skills and experience, their income will range from VND7-13 million ($295.86-549.45) a month.

The business is using multiple channels for recruitment, including social media and the District 6 employment agency.

But the number of people who applied for the jobs did not meet expectations.

Bui Van Duy, who's in charge of recruitment for the Thuan Phuong Group, said the market was no longer as competitive as it was earlier in the year, yet workers were still hard to find.

Young workers, who used to have part-time and online jobs and used to receiving day wages and weekly salaries, now don't want to receive monthly salaries and are less likely to accept overtime, he said.

Additionally, as factories pay workers based on the number of products or amount of quantifiable work done, new workers yet to become fluent in the task can only receive VND7-8 million a month, which might be lower than their previous jobs. So they quit after a few months.

Duy said factories' locations are also a factor creating recruitment difficulties. With HCMC's living costs continuously rising, workers will try to hold down their jobs, but once they quit, they would be more likely to return to their hometowns or switch to a different area for work to cut costs.

Dinh Van Giai, head of the labor union at the Toan Thang Company in Thu Duc City's Binh Chieu industrial complex, said that after a long period where the market lacked workers, workers have become more picky.

Giai’s company, which produces canned fish for export, now lacks over 150 workers. It has been trying to recruit people since the beginning of this year, but have not reached the required number.

New workers would have a monthly income of VND10-11 million, which is not enough to entice workers, Giai said, adding that workers might also prefer to avoid a work environment with low temperatures and the smell of fish.

Surplus there, shortage here

A survey on recruitment demand for the latter half of the year, carried out by Manpower Group Vietnam last month, revealed 88% intended to either hire more workers or maintain their current workforce. These are mostly businesses in manufacturing and processing, commerce, finance and banking.

While 24% said they needed workers, 57% said they were having trouble recruiting more people and 45% said they intend to use part-time workers in the next 3-6 months.

Data from the HCMC Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labor Market Information estimates the city will need 136,000-150,000 workers in the second half of the year, with commerce and services sectors taking more than 65%, and industry and construction taking around 34%.

Nguyen Xuan Son, Country Operations Manager, Staffing and Outsourcing of ManpowerGroup Vietnam, said the "worker surplus" was only at a local level.

Areas in southeastern Vietnam, like HCMC, still lack workers and were finding recruitment difficult, but other localities see a surplus due to the "workers' exodus" spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic last year, he said.

In certain industries, like wood, which are seeing a drop in the number of orders, workers' cuts will happen, he said.

Son introduced a gender angle to the labor problem. While a majority of the workforce are males, food and electronics factories want to hire female workers. "The market will see worker surpluses that have more to do with gender," Son said.

Another factor is that many workers have used up all their savings following the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, they would want to seek out jobs with lots of overtime to earn more money. Factories that export products to markets that require strict adherence to working hours cannot allow too much overtime, meaning they would find it more difficult to hire workers in this particular period, Son said.

Son felt that an underlying reason for all the supply-demand imbalances is the lack of a labor coordinating and management center for the entire country. He proposed that job centers across the country cooperate and build a database of workers.

These centers would also compile data on businesses needing to recruit people. This database should be made accessible to both workers and businesses. Right now, job centers limit their operations within their own localities.

Giai agreed with Son on the lack of a labor distribution function from the government's administrative entities.

For example, the Toan Thang company borders Binh Duong, a province where over 330 businesses have had to downsize their workforce over the past few months, affecting around 41,000 workers. Many of them couldn't find new jobs and had to return to their hometowns. But somehow, the company did not have access to these workers for recruitment, he noted.

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