High quality human resources are a good opportunity for Viet Nam as it is now a member of Free Trade Agreements and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Many Vietnamese engineers have professional skills as good as those of foreign engineers working for Samsung. Photo: vneconomy.vn
Nguyen Mai, Professor and Chairman of Viet Nam’s Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises talks to the newspaper Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) about Viet Nam’s need to develop high quality human resources.
What makes you think positive about the Vietnamese human resources in the course of international integration?
I don’t quite agree with some comments saying that our human resource is at an alarming level. Frankly speaking, the quality of our human resources is varied from one industry to another. For example, at present, our labour force works in the agro-forestry sector accounts for more than 50 percent. As a result, it makes the average productivity in the whole society very low. However, in 2018 we need to conduct a thorough study so that we can come up with precise evaluation.
There are three quality approaches towards Vietnamese human resources.
First is the tertiary education. Training methodology has changed between universities and enterprises. Regrettably, our country has good education models, yet their implementation is too slow. The responsibility should be on the concerned Government agencies. However autonomous universities have adapted to the new requirements very quickly as they are given more rights to do things they want and have shown more responsibility towards the society in training high quality human resources.
Second, it is the quality of those graduating from universities where their lecturers are also Vietnamese. In the past, in some key construction projects, we did ask for support from foreign experts. But nowadays, we can do it by ourselves. As a result, we have saved quite a lot of money and time.
And third, thanks to deep international integration, we have learned quite a lot from our foreign friends. In 2017, Viet Nam’s import-export turnover was more than US$450 billion, ranking 25th internationally and 2nd in ASEAN in terms of export. If we just look at the ranking of 6 ASEAN nations having exported goods to the United States, in 2014, Viet Nam ranked 1st against Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. And by now, Viet Nam still takes the lead among the ASEAN exporters to the US.
In 2017, the export turnover between Viet Nam and South Korea recorded an increase of 35 per cent. As we all know South Korea is a very demanding market in terms of competitive prices.
All in all, I can say that Viet Nam should not worry about its human resources in the course of international integration.
How do foreign investors rate the quality of our human resources?
Foreign enterprises in Viet Nam, particularly the Samsung Electronics, by 2018, they have invested in Viet Nam for 10 years. Investment was about US$650 million at the beginning but has now jumped to $13 billion – an increase of 20 times. If at the beginning, Samsung employed some 7,000 Vietnamese workers, now the figure has jumped to 175,000.
Among the 175,000 workers, only 160,000 workers are general workers and the remaining are technicians and engineers. Many Vietnamese engineers have professional skills as good as those of foreign engineers working for Samsung.
High quality human resources are a good opportunity for Viet Nam as it is now a member of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
According to a survey conducted by the Association of Foreign Investors in Viet Nam, the weakest point in the Vietnamese human resources is the shortage of CEOs – people having high skills. Regrettably, at present, Viet Nam does not have any training institution for CEOs. This is good food for thought for Viet Nam.
To train high quality human resources, what policies should Viet Nam have?
Viet Nam has a high political will to reform the State apparatus and its administrative procedures. But, the biggest obstacle we’re facing is our cumbersome apparatus and the public employees’ incompetency in performing their assigned duties. So in my opinion, Viet Nam needs to restructure the State apparatus and to improve the quality of public servants so that they can raise their work performance.