Hiring in Engineering and Manufacturing: Expect conservative demand in engineering and manufacturing

Trang Nguyen, Manager of Engineering & Manufacturing at Robert Walters Vietnam.

As global markets transitioned to a post-pandemic climate, Vietnam’s engineering and manufacturing industries experienced a bout of turnovers in 2022.

“With borders now re-opened, many regional heads of manufacturing companies could finally make in-person visits to check in on the business. On these trips, they let go of incumbents and hired extensively to replace these senior roles,” observes Trang Nguyen, Manager of Engineering & Manufacturing at Robert Walters Vietnam. Furthermore, companies were compelled to hire as manufacturing activities resumed pre-COVID levels and workers could physically go to factories again.

Demand for consumer products across exports and domestic markets soared in the first half of 2022. This contributed to a significant rise in recruitment within the same timeframe, with hiring activity slowing down in the latter half of the year due to economic uncertainties in the US and Europe.

Read on to find out more about Trang's expectations of Vietnam’s labour market and hiring trends for Engineering and Manufacturing professionals in 2023.

Younger candidates may have advantage for managerial roles

In 2023, hiring demand within the furniture market is expected to drop, as market demand has fallen below forecasted rates.

Despite the slowdown in hiring activity in the second half of 2022, the outlook for the manufacturing industry in 2023 remains positive. Businesses are already anticipating high levels of demand, so hiring managers will be keen to get new talent onboard.

Trang also foresees that companies will increasingly show a preference for younger candidates when hiring for managerial positions. “These profiles are generally in their late 30s, and they may have worked or studied abroad, or been fast tracked through management trainee programmes,” he discloses. “Managers in their 50s who possess a more traditional outlook may find it more challenging to find suitable employment within multinational companies.”

R&D will be more prominent

Across manufacturing sectors, R&D skills are in demand given that more companies are setting up R&D centres in the country. “This is a new trend – Vietnam is traditionally a production-led country, but we’re now seeing the focus shift to research and development,” highlights Trang.

Candidates who possess strong leadership skills, holistic thinking and people engagement skills will stand out. Those who can thrive in ambiguous environments and make solid decisions amidst uncertainties will also have an advantage.

Roles that will be highly sought after in 2023 include continuous improvement managers, new production introduction (NPI) managers, and R&D managers, directors and experts.

Draw and retain talent through a holistic approach

Majority of candidates today have reassessed their relationships to work and now increasingly value the time spent with friends or family. Trang states that money and benefits alone are no longer enough to attract or motivate candidates, pointing out that candidates also value flexible work arrangements and a culture or colleagues that inspire them to do their best.

Therefore, Trang suggests that companies retain employees not only through salary increments and promotion opportunities, but also opportunities for growth by switching up a given employee’s job scopes and responsibilities.

Companies can also work on uplifting their organisational culture and employer branding. “Companies need to be more accountable, creative and involved to fully engage their employees. This begins from the recruitment process,” says Trang.

Salaries to increase

Salaries are expected to increase by 10% to 20% for candidates moving from one job to another. Meanwhile, employees who stay in the same companies can likely look forward to a 5% to 10% increase during annual salary reviews.

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