Treating the country’s ‘talent emergency’ with better training

treating the country’s ‘talent emergency’ with better training hinh 0

Meanwhile job seekers are struggling to figure out just which skillsets they actually need and where they can learn them, said Tran Van Hung from the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences.

Mr Trung, who is the deputy director of the Human Resources Training Demand Forecast and Development Centre at the Institute, told conference attendees that this leaves millions of workers without employment or stuck in a low paying job without a career path.

The government has set its sights on creating a high-skilled industrialized economy, but businesses and non-profit entities alike are facing a talent emergency now, that is starving the country’s economic growth.

Particularly hard-hit segments negatively affected by this mismatch include construction, manufacturing, science, engineering and technology.

Most of the job openings in these segments are in the middle-skill jobs –  jobs that require a high school degree, some postsecondary technical education and training but not a college degree – in the major cities of Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City.

In fact, he noted, a college degree today actually increases a person’s chances of becoming unemployed.

The unemployment rate for those with an advanced degree currently approximates 27% compared to 5.3% for applicants holding a post-secondary vocational training certificate and 2.2% for those having just a high school diploma.

Mr Trung elaborated on some of the underlying causes of the talent mismatch.

First, employers, he said, are providing far too few opportunities for on-the-job training. As a result, the responsibility for developing skills is shifted away from employers to the job seekers.

This shift creates an undue imperative for the government to develop an education system, especially at the community college and post-high school level, that recognize the skills and credentials that are needed by employers.

When in fact, employers must and should shoulder more of the responsibility.

Second, there is a definite lack of collaboration among educators to identify the talents that are needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow and help them map career pathways from entry-level to middle skill jobs and beyond.

Third, there is a need for better career advice to help young people understand more about the jobs likely to be available in the future.

How can Vietnamese youth today attending a college or university decide what type of work they want to do in the future, when the advice they receive from career counsellors is poor?, said Mr Trung.

Lastly, the country must do more to target disadvantaged populations such as ethnic groups and other needy groups living outside the major urban areas to help them identify potential job opportunities that match with their education and skillsets.

Without major structural changes to better train the country’s workforces, the talent gap will continue to hold back economic growth and the workforce— eager to be productive and earn a higher standard of living, said Mr Trung.

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