Hiring in Vietnam: Tech, digital fields to drive demand

Phuc Pham, Country Manager of Robert Walters Vietnam

The first half of 2022, according to Phuc Pham, Country Manager of Robert Walters Vietnam, “Was a dynamic time for Vietnam’s hiring market, which saw much more demand than 2021. Business activities and consumer spending returned to a healthy state. The pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer sectors did well due to a rise of consumer demand domestically. The manufacturing space also saw good job flows. However, raw materials and logistics costs went up due to supply chain disruptions.”

“Beginning from Q3, Vietnam began feeling the effects of the impending recession expected in the West. Manufacturing companies were impacted as US and Europe exports fell. Many companies became more cautious about hiring due to uncertainties that lie ahead,” he notes.

“Through it all, the tech and digital sectors maintained a strong influence on Vietnam’s hiring market. Companies kept up their digitalisation plans, which led to a huge appetite for digital roles and skill sets. The number of tech startups, companies and VCs continues to grow, and there is a fierce competition for talent in this space,” Phuc reveals.

Companies on ‘wait-and-see’ mode

With a recession possible in 2023, Phuc observes, “Companies are on wait-and-see mode. Vietnam is a big exporter to the US and Europe, so most commercial activity here is closely tied to the climate in those parts of the world.”

“Second, there is a talent gap in the market, so companies will have to be more flexible with their hires. They will do well to distinguish between their must-haves and nice-to-have qualities when assessing potential hires. To fulfil talent demands, there will be an increased focus on hiring based on potential while Vietnam’s talent pool matures and grows,” he adds.

Phuc also expects an increased demand for overseas-based Vietnamese who are returning home – exactly the type of candidates represented in Robert Walters’ Come Home Pho Good campaign. “These returnees will place emphasis on both salaries and companies’ culture when assessing job opportunities here,” he points out.

Demand for skills in digital, business acumen, leadership

“In 2023, we foresee a strong focus on digital skill sets. Currently, educational pathways to learn these skills remain limited. Candidates will need to self-learn or pick up these skills by working for big, digital companies. Candidates in this space will be expected to keep up with and learn new languages fast,” Phuc predicts.

“On the soft skills front, companies are looking at business acumen, even in support functions. Companies need strong business partners, who could provide strategic advice to the business,” he says.

Lastly, leadership will also be a highlight in the year ahead. “Many companies plan to localise their leadership in Vietnam. They will prioritise leaders who are agile and adaptable to fast-changing situations, as well as those who can ensure a sustainable business,” Phuc expresses.

Emphasis on workplace culture

“For many candidates today, an inspirational company culture with good leadership and collaborative colleagues are essential. Money and career development often come in at a close second. To retain your talent, help them bond and stay connected with their colleagues, as it’s often the culture that keeps them going,” Phuc advises.

“Across all sectors, companies will also do well to move fast, be realistic and a little adventurous when hiring. Hire based on potential and be open to prospective hires who may not fit the bill perfectly,” he adds.

“Younger candidates – such as Gen Z talents – have more of a tendency to want to advance their careers quickly. To retain them, keep them engaged and provide job rotations to stretch them in different areas. Involve hiring managers from the first stages of the recruitment process, and always communicate career roadmaps to them clearly,” he recommends.

Salary rises for movers, especially in tech and digital

When it comes to salaries, Phuc anticipates “a 15 – 25% pay rise across most sectors in 2023. Some niche markets and skill sets like tech and digital may even give pay increments of up to 35%.”

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