Free labour flow within Asean a challenge to Vietnamese workers

    The Asean Economic Community (AEC), scheduled to take shape in late 2015, is expected to facilitate the free flow of goods, services, investment, as well as skilled workers within the bloc.

    Published: 5 May 2015 5:38 PM

    This provides opportunities, but also challenges for Vietnamese labourers, who are often deemed to be less qualified than their regional counterparts, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

    Once the AEC is formed, access to jobs within the region will be given first to doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers, architects, accountants, surveyors and tourism professionals.

    Bui Dinh Thieu, director of a software company, said the free labour migration will have the most impact on highly skilled workers with fluency in foreign languages, especially English.

    If companies grab this opportunity, they can recruit quality personnel and avoid a brain drain, he said, adding that skillful labourers can work in Vietnam, Singapore or any other country in Asean.

    The movement of professionals from other regional countries will also put pressure on local people.

    Meanwhile, highly qualified Vietnamese workers will head to neighbouring nations if local firms pay them inappropriately.

    Data shows that Vietnam had 69.3 million people at the age of 15 and above in 2014, but only 19% of the 53.7 million people of working age received training, which is one of the bottlenecks hindering employment.

    Besides bringing about more job opportunities for some, the AEC also may increase the total unemployment rate in Vietnam, warned Cao Quang Dai, an official of the Directorate of Vocational Training under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

    He elaborated that almost all Vietnamese workers lack soft skills such as team working, communication and foreign language ability, so they need to actively acquire these qualifications.

    Meanwhile, a majority of local enterprises are of small and medium size and lack experience, making it more difficult for them to attract and keep skilled staff members, Cao noted.

    He also pointed out the lack of interest or adequate knowledge about the AEC, even among people holding important positions at government agencies, while regional workers are willing to make changes to dominate Vietnam’s labour market.

    Nguyen Luong Trao, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Manpower Supply, said if thorough preparations are not in place for the upcoming intensive integration, domestic firms will lose out to foreign ones and labourers will lose their jobs. – Bernama, May 5, 2015.