HCM City faces labour shortages

HO CHI MINH CITY - Many HCM City businesses are faced with labour shortages while, paradoxically, the city has the highest unemployment rate in the country, a seminar on labour heard in HCM City on Wednesday.

A survey tabled by the Institute for Social and Labour Sciences at the seminar placed unemployment in HCM City at 1.24 per cent, blaming it on the fact that many workers cherry-picked jobs rather than accept what was available and on poor training.

Nearly 50 per cent of unemployed workers refused jobs they were offered, saying the pay was lower than expected.

On the other hand, despite the city's high rate of trained labour (52.72 per cent), many workers could not meet employers' requirements.

As a result, 35 per cent of the unemployed were found to lack the experience or skills required to get jobs.

The finance and banking sector offered the highest salary of VND6.27 million (S$376) per month on average, followed by the water, power, and gas sectors, at around VND5.53 million.

Domestic help brought up the rear with around VND2.7 million per month.

Nguyen Huyen Le, head of the Institute's Labour - Payment Division, said: "It is not the shortage of employment opportunities but a gap between workers' demands and what is on offer that creates unemployment."

In a big city like HCM City, one of the major causes of unemployment is workers' demand for higher salaries, better working conditions, and better career options, she said.

The survey found that 52 per cent of employers faced difficulties in finding skilled workers, especially after investing in improving production technologies.

Almost a quarter said there was a gap between the skills workers had and those required by the market, while more than a third said new skilled workers did not meet the requirements of their job.

There were certain causes for the insufficient labour supply.

The development of many "unofficial" services had created other employment opportunities - albeit unstable and poorly paid - for tens of thousands of workers.

Employers' exploitation and unfairness in salary payment were also reasons for the lack of workers.

Besides, many graduates from intermediate vocational schools were employed and paid as unskilled workers, making workers reluctant to enter vocational schools.

Narrowing the supply gap

To reduce the supply gap the study called on the education sector to restructure vocational schools to provide quality workers for every sector.

They had to remain abreast of the changing demands.

Enterprises had to apprise labour management and forecast agencies about their needs.

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