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University boom makes it difficult for hi-tech parks to find skilled workers

VietNamNet Bridge (online), 28 November 2016 - Enterprises in Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) are finding it difficult to recruit trained factory workers.

Having more than 1,000 job vacancies, 23 enterprises in HCM City were able to find only 700 people who could meet their requirements out of 2,000 candidates who visited on recruitment day held recently at the park.

“When we began our operations here some years ago, candidates queued up for jobs. But things are different now. We have to wait a long time for every new recruitment campaign,” said Henry Pham, personnel director of Nidec Vietnam. 

According to Duong Minh Tam, deputy head of SHTP’s Board of Management, there are 32,000 workers at enterprises in the high-tech park, but only 29 percent have taken training courses. 

The number of workers finishing junior colleges and universities is even lower. With unskilled workers, enterprises have found it difficult to make high added-value products.

Tam commented that in hi-tech parks, workers with higher education levels (finishing junior college at least) should account for 35-45 percent of total workers. Hsinchu Science & Industrial Park in Taiwan, for example, has 74 percent of workers who have at least finished junior college.

“Hi-tech parks should be knowledge-based,” he explained.

SHTP aims to have 80-90 percent of workers finishing vocational schools  or having higher educationby 2020, and the number of workers finishing junior college or having higher education levels to be 35 percent.

However, analysts said this was an unattainable goal, warning that there is a shortage of trained workers and their quality is limited.

Le Van Hien from EVBB (European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training), said that while demand for skilled workers is high, the supply is low.

He blames this on the ‘university boom’ in Vietnam. Students have tended to go to universities after finishing high school instead of vocational schools. They believe they will get a better job with a bachelor’s degree.

Hien said that 70 percent of Vietnamese students want to go to university after finishing high school, while the figure is 40 percent in Germany. This explains why most German workers have high skills while enterprises can find trained workers.

Hong Nhung, a personnel officer of a business in SHTP, complained that it was difficult to retain workers.

“Many workers terminate labor contracts soon, even though they have committed to work for enterprises for three years,” she said.


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