HCM City faces shortage of workers in clothing industry

A critical shortage of workers in the textile and clothing industry is hampering HCM City’s ability to transform itself into the fashion centre of the southern region, leading industry analysts report.

HCM City faces shortage of workers in clothing industry

A critical shortage of workers in the textile and clothing industry is hampering HCM City’s ability to transform itself into the fashion centre of the southern region, leading industry analysts report.

Late last year the HCM City Department of Trade and Industry announced that for 2015 it was targeting an increase in the industry’s production value by 8.5% over that of 2014 to US$1.7 billion.

To accomplish the goal would require an additional 19,500 workers and roughly 500-1000 skilled workers such as engineers, technical experts and designers, the department said.

Beyond 2015 the department anticipated an additional 20,250 workers would be needed by 2020 to meet the demand for future growth brought about by regional and global integration.

The shortage of skilled labour is the most immediate hurdle facing industry growth, said Bui Mai Huong, head of the Garment Technique Department of the HCM City University of Technology (HUT).

We just don’t have the capacity to train workers, Huong said— adding that HUT is only capable of training 80 engineers per year.

HCM City faces shortage of workers in clothing industry

Citywide there are 11 vocational training centres, colleges and universities that are capable of training 1,900 workers, including 200 with Bachelor of Arts degrees, each year.

These figures are just too far below those needed to meet the demand of the textile and clothing industry.

This sentiment has been echoed by many of the city’s textile and clothing business leaders who say manufacturers do not yet have the skilled labour forces required to compete for the high-end manufacturing contracts.

We are always taking on new employees with no steady and stable work force, said one factory owner, and the high employee turnover is holding us back from getting production to the quality levels we need to be at.

Stiff competition with new industrial parks in almost all provinces in the central and northern regions and the higher costs of living in HCM City is also playing a role in the shortage of workers.

Many workers are finding they can enjoy similar income and working conditions at industrial parks in their hometown, where the cost of living is much less./.

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