Vietnamese workers need to upgrade skills to grab better job opportunity

Minister of Labours, the Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung visited Vietnamese employees working at G.S.ACE Industry Co., Ltd. (Korea) (source:

Vietnamese employees are presented with good opportunities when working at South Korean companies but the lack of skilled workers in an issue for the latter.

Fitting together

Illustrative photo (source: VET)

When moving to northern Thai Nguyen province to work, Nguyen Van The, a 28-year-old office worker at the province’s Samsung Electronic Vietnam, had a little difficulty adapting to his new surroundings. He was helped, though, by many of his colleagues at the company and also by its South Korean management team. The is just one of many people with an interesting tale to tell about working for a South Korean business in Vietnam.

South Korean bosses

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Hanoi to work in Thai Nguyen province in 2015, the problems The faced were with his new living environment, while in overall he had very few problems during working hours. “Everyone speaks in Vietnamese, while my manager can communicate with staff and partners in both Vietnamese and English,” he said. He has adapted to his new job much more quickly than he expected, with help from his manager. “I have been impressed by my manager, as he is very nice but also quite fastidious,” he said. “During my three-month probation period, he directly observed my work, and if I didn’t meet his requirements he corrected me. I’m now accustomed to the job, thanks to his help.” Indeed, South Korean managers are known for mixing high expectations with fairness.

After being transferred to Samsung SDIV in northern Bac Ninh province last year, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan has also been impressed by her manager. She still lives in Hanoi but commutes to Bac Ninh and back every day by bus. “My boss knows a lot of things, and often shares his knowledge with his staff, for example about the most succinct and straightforward way to write a report,” she said. Working at Samsung SDIV is a good opportunity for her and each day provides an interesting experience. She also has the chance to practice her Korean and better understand the South Korean working style.

Hoang Thanh Le, who works at South Korea’s TCE Vina Denim Co. in her homeland of northern Nam Dinh province, said she is very satisfied with the salary the company offers. She studied for three years in South Korea, which she said gives her an advantage. “Most skilled South Korean-speaking workers only want to develop their careers in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, while many South Korean-invested companies have factories in the provinces, which have lower production and labor costs,” she said. “I therefore decided to work at a South Korean company in my homeland, and am paid a good salary.”

Many enterprises have looked to Vietnamese workers returning from South Korea, as they are familiar with the country’s culture and working environment and have some knowledge of the Korean language. “In addition to a starting salary of VND10 million ($440) a month, the company offers benefits such as overtime and a year-end bonus,” Ms. Le said.

Working together does, however, involve some effort. “My boss and I try to understand each other’s culture in both life and work,” The said. “For example, on national holidays in Vietnam, the company sends its best wishes and gives gifts to employees, while the employees also try to understand the personality and style of their bosses, so that work is done efficiently.” Lan said that sometimes she has debated issues about her job with her boss. “I realize now that South Koreans often speak concisely, while Vietnamese people are the opposite, so differences in opinion can be misunderstood.”

Seeking quality

In Vietnam, most sectors with South Korean investment need Korean-speaking employees, with the greatest demand seen in the electronics manufacturing sector, especially for interpreters and assistants. As at the end of June, South Korea had surpassed Japan to become the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with total registered capital of $54.7 billion to date, accounting for 18.1 per cent of the total. In the first eleven months of 2017, South Korean investment in Vietnam reached $8.18 billion, or 24.7 per cent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) at the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

South Korean investors, in general, comply with the laws of Vietnam and implement their projects on schedule. Many projects from leading South Korean corporations such as Samsung, Lotte, LG, Doosan, Kumho, Posco, Lotte, GS, and Hyosung have proven effective and have created nearly 700,000 jobs. As South Korean FDI continues to flow into Vietnam, recruitment demand has increased significantly, bringing more employment opportunities to Vietnamese workers.

Vietnamese workers need to upgrade skills to grab better job opportunity

In the opinion of South Korean enterprises, besides employing ordinary workers, they now need a large number of high-quality employees with workplace skills and a working knowledge of the Korean language. They are willing to pay from $1,000 to $2,500 per month, which is similar to salaries in their home country. But most Vietnamese workers only completed high school, while engineers and other university graduates lack professional skills and practical knowledge and fail to acquire knowledge from technology transfers.

The number of workers meeting the conditions set by South Korean enterprises remains limited, making recruitment a difficult task. In particular, South Korean companies in the north of Vietnam face a lack of Korean interpreters, with many recruiting in the south and bringing successful candidates to the north. According to the Chief Engineer at Huvis Water Vietnam Co., Kim Tae Hyeong, there is a serious shortage of human resources with experience working at multinational companies. “If you have four or five years of experience at multinational companies, it is a competitive advantage for you later on,” he said.

Concerns among South Korean investors about the quality of Vietnamese workers are reflected in figures from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MoLISA). According to a recent report from its Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs, Vietnam’s unemployment rate has been stable for the last five years and only increased slightly in the second quarter of this year, from 1.96 per cent to 2.26 per cent. The concern, however, relates to the general low quality of Vietnamese workers, only 23 per cent of whom have diplomas or certificates. “Vietnam’s labor market is still in shortage, and the target of a sustainable workforce in the country faces many obstacles,” said Dao Quang Vinh, Director of the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), Vietnam is and will be one of the countries most influenced by the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). It will continue to face many challenges regarding the quality of its human resources, such as low technical qualifications, while productivity is lower than in many other ASEAN countries.


Vietnam, Italy Deputy Foreign Ministers Meet for Fifth Political Consultation Friendship

Vietnam, Italy Deputy Foreign Ministers Meet for Fifth Political Consultation

The Vietnam - Italy political consultation is part of the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the framework of the strategic partnership.
15:49 | 01/04/2023
Phiên bản di động