Vietnam has work to do in building labor market resilience

By Nguyen Quy   February 2, 2020 | 02:30 am PT
Vietnam has work to do in building labor market resilience
Workers at Samsung Electronics Vietnam in Bac Ninh Province in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
While Vietnam ranks higher than several Southeast Asian peers on a labor resilience index, education, skills and productivity remain serious challenges.

A new report by Whiteshield Partners, which calls itself a "global strategy and public policy advisory firm," places Vietnam's labor market as the 58th most resilient in its 2020 Global Labor Resilience Index released this week.

Vietnam had an overall score of 55 points out of 100.

The index measures 145 economies around the world based on 11 factors including entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, employment, education and skills, inequality, economic diversification, economic development, country capabilities, demographics and statistics.

Vietnam fared better than several ASEAN peers like Indonesia (59th), the Philippines (62nd), Laos (112th), Cambodia (118th) and Myanmar (130th), while lagging behind Singapore (2nd), Malaysia (29th) and Thailand (40th).

The report said Vietnam’s best performance was in the technology changes classification, where it ranked 13th globally. It made gains in economic diversification at 40th, income inequality at 52nd, entrepreneurship at 54th, country capabilities at 59th and innovation at 62nd.

However, the country is still limited by challenges like education and skill levels, employability and labor productivity, the report said.

This is corroborated by a report prepared by Vietnam’s General Statistics Office earlier, which said the nation does poorly in labor productivity compared to its Southeast Asian peers, mainly due to the use of outdated technology and a low-skilled workforce.

Based on purchasing power parity (PPP) at 2011 constant prices, the GSO estimated Vietnam's overall labor productivity in 2018 at $11,142, lower than Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Whiteshield Partnership report noted that Vietnam's spending on tertiary education remained lower than other countries in the region; and that it does not do well in supplying skilled labor.

Switzerland ranked first globally on the labor resilience index, and the U.S. was third, behind Singapore.

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