EVFTA: Opportunities and Challenges for Vietnamese Human Resources

3:15:04 PM | 9/23/2019

Through EVFTA, Vietnam has the opportunity to develop a sustainable, harmonious labor market that benefits both workers and businesses in the long run. However, this also presents challenges for businesses when they have to change to fulfill their commitments.

Challenges to have high quality human resources

The EVFTA Agreement eliminates up to 99% of export tariffs, creating many job opportunities and increasing incomes for Vietnamese workers; however, it may also leave businesses facing the challenges of high quality human resources to meet the increasingly stringent requirements of the quality of goods and services of the European market.

Speaking at the seminar "Vietnam-Europe Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA): Opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese human resources" organized by ManpowerGroup in collaboration with Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on September 17, in Hanoi, Vice President of EuroCham Nguyen Hai Minh said that when the EVFTA Agreement comes into effect, European businesses will invest in labor-intensive industries of textile and footwear. In the long-term, it is possible to produce higher required products such as pharmaceuticals, maybe even shifting investment from China to Vietnam because Vietnam has more advantages in low cost labor price. However, the characteristics of European businesses are mostly based on technology, therefore, the requirements of European businesses are not only low-cost workers, but also skills and high qualification.

"Currently, Vietnam is still improving skills and expertise, necessary skills for workers. European businesses will need a lot of professional experience, specialized skills, foreign language. European enterprises expect Vietnam to improve the quality of its current human resources to meet the requirements of labor in the new context of cooperation, ' Minh emphasized.

Mr. Pham Hong Quan, HR Director of Asia-Pacific Piaggio, also shared, in enterprises there are positions that require high strategic thinking, combined with good leadership, but in fact that it is very difficult to find qualified personnel in the Vietnamese market.

Basically, Vietnamese workers are holding the middle position but have not reached the senior position, that is only at the third level compared to the highest position of general director. The reason is that the strategic vision of business planning, the business development strategy, as well as the management capacity of Vietnamese workers is still not sufficient.

Some other experts said that the quality of human resources is a great challenge for Vietnam. Trade agreements bring opportunities, but at the same time will open up talent wars of well-trained human resources, cooperative and project management skills.

Vocational training areas need strong socialization

With the view to seize the opportunities that EVFTA brings, experts said Vietnamese businesses must have an appropriate workforce. To do this, they must first make adjustments in the current human resource development strategy.

VCCI President Vu Tien Loc also said that it is necessary to strongly socialize the vocational training area, implement public-private partnerships, promote the participation of domestic and foreign enterprises in the education and training system.

Mr. Nguyen Hai Minh also said that in order to improve the quality of human resource training of Vietnam today, there should be solutions to promote public-private cooperation in the field of vocational education and training. Only businesses understand what their needs are and how the trends fluctuate in the market. Through public-private partnerships, vocational training institutions will design training programs that are more relevant to enterprises. Last year marked a change and strong commitment in corporate engagement in vocational education of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

Statistics showed that the signing of cooperation with businesses is exciting, with large corporations and enterprises such as: Muong Thanh, Vingroup, Samsung. It means that career development orientation is taking steps in the right direction, associated with the needs of the business. "It is the enterprise that is the key force to invest in improving the quality of human resources. Enterprises are now very active in training their own personnel. But still need more open policies on reform administrative procedures are simple and policies are encouraged to promote vocational training from businesses. And in the training system, it is necessary to have practical content, associated with businesses, "Dr. Loc emphasized.

Mr. Simon Matthews, General Director of ManpowerGroup Vietnam, agreed, “In order to develop to a new height in the context of international integration and Industry 4.0, developing talents is one of the top priorities of Vietnam businesses. Therefore, businesses need to devise appropriate talent strategies.

Giang Tu