The country’s labor force must find ways to improve its quality in order to produce products that adhere to stricter standards in European markets, said policymakers and labor experts at a conference in Hanoi on September 17.
President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said Vietnam’s labor force quality still left much to be desired. A recent VCCI survey showed 85 percent of businesses in the country were facing difficulties finding skilled workers and managers. A lack of skilled workers has discouraged high-tech companies to make heavy investments in Vietnam.
In addition, companies will have to implement a number of changes to their current labor policies to meet with the EVFTA’s labor standards, such as making commitments to ensure workers’ rights to collective bargaining, eliminate forced and child labor as well as workplace discrimination.
The EVFTA is an opportunity for the Vietnamese labor force to grow but they must be equipped with the right skills to take advantage of such opportunities, said Simon Matthews, Country Manager of Vietnam, Thailand and the Middle East under ManpowerGroup, a leading staffing firm based in the US.
The trade deal was expected to create between 18,000 to 19,000 jobs each year for the next ten years, with the majority of jobs in textile, footwear and furniture manufacturing as tariffs were set to be lifted for Vietnamese products exported to the EU market.
"Labour force quality remains an obstacle for Vietnam to overcome. European firms require from employees both technical and language skills and they are hoping to see such demands addressed by the Government," said Nguyen Hai Minh, Vice Chairman of EuroCham Vietnam.
Minh said most European firms rely on technologies and therefore place great emphasis on employing skilled workers instead of cheap labor.
Matthews said developing a skilled labor force is a top priority for Vietnam in the country's effort to integrate into the global economy. He urged firms to start building human resource strategies to train and retain skilled workers.VNS/VNA
Loc said businesses must work together with universities and vocational training schools. He called for shortened and more practical courses as well as increased involvement of the business sector in education and vocational training.