VIETNAM: Development brings on labor shortage in HCM City

Lacking blue-collar workers and medium-class managers has become a chronic disease in companies located in industrial zones (IZs) and export processing zones (EPZs) in HCM City, according to Dau Tu newspaper. 

Orders from foreign partners have been piling up at the end of the year, as now is the “golden time” for enterprises in IZs and EPZs in HCM City. Firms that produce garments, footwear, electronics and seafood have a high number of orders. 

Market experts warn, however, that labor shortages may force them to miss out. 

According to Nguyen Thanh Tung, Director of the Job Centre under the HCM City IZ and EPZ Management Board (Hepza), in 2010, enterprises in IZs and EPZs needed some 49,000 blue-collar laborers. If deducting the number of recruited workers, they still need 15,000 more workers from now to the end of 2010. Tung has cautioned that it will not be easy to employ more, since the supply is nearly exhausted. 

Though Hepza and enterprises have been recruiting, analysts predict they can only meet 60-70 percent of demand. 

At least 300 companies in HCN City IZs and EPZs are reportedly understaffed, especially garrment, footwear and electronic assembling firms. In Tan Thuan EPZ alone, companies now need no less than 10,000 blue-collar workers. 

Garment companies are reportedly facing a lot of difficulties, too. Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) reported that the cotton price has increased by 15 percent over July and 45 percent over the same period of 2009. This has led to higher production costs and yet exporters cannot raise their prices. 

Demand for medium class managers has also risen at enterprises in HCM City. The situation is not yet too serious, but these workers are difficult to find. Many enterprises, from trading to production, are on recruiting missions. 

“Every year, enterprises need to recruit enough medium class manager to account for 10 percent of the total demand for laborers,” Tung explained. “The competition has become fiercer and fiercer. Therefore, if enterprises do not have good human resource policies, managers will leave for other companies with better working conditions and higher incomes.” 

The labor shortage has become more serious in recent years because of the strong development of IZs in neighboring areas like Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and Long An provinces. 

According to Hepza, of 250,000 blue collar workers now working for IZs and EPZs in HCM City, 70 percent are immigrants. Every year, the companies lose thousands of workers when the workers do not return after Tet. 

Market experts area alarmed at the shortage and have called for drastic measures to settle the problem. They suggest that enterprises should renovate technologies, improve working conditions and increase salaries to retain their labor force. Meanwhile, management agencies need to prioritize human resource development to attract workers to industries that require high intelligence and also minimize industries that use many employees.

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Added: September 7, 2010 Source: ynfx
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