In 2023, labour demand in Vietnam was subdued as the country forged its way ahead through challenging economic conditions.
Foreign direct investments flowing into Vietnam declined over the past year due to a weaker global economy. There was a measured slowdown in consumer growth, and an export collapse in the manufacturing sector also held back hiring activities and demand. In addition, technology and digital sectors are still dealing with the effects of widespread layoffs.
“All these factors have dampened hiring demand for many companies, and job flows were lower across all industries and functions,” relates Phuc Pham, Country Manager at Robert Walters Vietnam.
Read on to find out more about Phuc’s expectations for Vietnam’s labour market in 2024.
“Companies are already putting more of a spotlight on their values and commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) during their recruitment process,” reports Phuc. “They know that the benefits include an enhanced corporate reputation, a more positive work culture with employees who are engaged and feel a sense of purpose, and higher chances of attracting and retaining talent who share the same values and commitment to sustainability and CSR.”
In the coming year, Phuc expects to see more companies showcasing their CSR initiatives on their digital channels. This could include efforts around carbon emissions reduction, promoting diversity and inclusion, and how they support local communities. Job descriptions will also be a platform through which companies communicate these values and their efforts around waste reduction and sustainability. Employees may also find they have more opportunities to participate in CSR initiatives like volunteer work or charitable giving.
“There will also be more measuring and reporting of such initiatives so companies can show they are committed to making a positive impact on society, and that their commitment is backed up by actual statistics. This could look like tracking progress towards sustainability goals, measuring the impact of volunteer work, or reporting more on the details of their diversity and inclusion efforts,” says Phuc.
There will also be a continued emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion in recruitment in 2024.
Business partnering skills will feature as a key requirement in many open roles in the coming year. From what Phuc observes, this demand is most prominent in the legal and finance sectors, as well as in human resources where there has been strong demand for human resources business partners.
Companies want to hire candidates who can pair their technical skillets with a strong understanding of the business. They are after consultative talent who can draw from their domain of expertise to provide meaningful insights and strategies.
There will also be a focus on hiring sales and business development talent as companies make building their pipeline and growing revenue streams a priority. More manufacturing companies will also kickstart or raise engineering and design capabilities across their Vietnamese sites, making the sector a more competitive player in the global market.
As Vietnam continues to contend with a tight talent pool, it will be an uphill battle for companies vying for the best candidates – especially in niche markets.
Given challenging market conditions, Phuc says that more candidates are reluctant to move jobs as there are lesser roles and fewer opportunities for growth in their domains of expertise. However, those who do seek out new roles take a more long-term view of their career when evaluating opportunities, and they also approach discussion with more reasonable expectations around compensation and benefits. Instead, there has been a growing focus among candidates on whether they can fit in with future colleagues and a new company culture.
Companies who are decisive and fast have the best odds of clinching top talent in 2024, with Phuc advising that companies streamline their recruitment processes and be clear on what they are looking for to speed up the decision making process when hiring. Speed aside, companies should also aim to create a positive candidate experience, as this influences the company’s reputation and employer branding in the long run.
Phuc also suggests that companies hire based on potential as this enables them to tap into a larger candidate pool. “Once these talents are onboard, you can retain them by fostering a great company culture and environment that keeps them engaged and happy. To make up for any gaps in competency, invest in their training and development. Nurture and be prompt to reward them for their contributions through promotions or staying on top of compensation and benefits benchmarks on the market.”
In 2024, salaries are expected to remain stable with the usual rates of increment. Most job movers are likely to receive a 15 – 25% pay increment.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in Vietnam.
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Country Manager, Vietnam
As the Country Manager of Robert Walters Vietnam, Phuc Pham oversees the overall business in Vietnam. Under his leadership, the company has achieved solid successes and milestones in securing its leading position in the market.
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