Representatives of Vietnamese consulting firms shared with The Hanoi Times their expectations on the prospects of Vietnam's technological talents and improvements to enhance the quality of the workforce.
Christopher Lee, Director of Management Consulting - Workforce Transformation, PwC Vietnam
Vietnam is a nation showing an aptitude for technology skills. Research reveals that digital literacy in Vietnam is significant, and our PwC Hopes & Fears survey also indicates much more positivity in the Vietnamese workforce in the face of rapid digitization - 60% believe that AI will help them increase their productivity/efficiency at work, much higher than the Asia Pacific result of 41%.
However, through numerous workforce projects helping local and international organizations develop their future-ready workforce, we have observed that the challenge lies in effectively integrating technology skills with business acumen and data skills, complemented by softer skills such as communicating with impact, influencing through storytelling, etc.
The effective integration of skill sets is particularly important to meet the expansion and evolution of businesses, as the pressure on businesses today is less (caveat that every organization is at a different stage of maturity) to drive efficiency through siloed technology solutions, and more to reimagine business operations, customer experience and how to compete in an ecosystem market, which requires integrated skills across business, people and technology domains.
A technology workforce with such skills would be able to better reimagine how a business operates, play a more influential role in introducing solutions or solution stacks into the business, drive adoption of new ways of working, and articulate the commercial value of investing in technology, which are critical skills to drive transformational change.
I have been in Vietnam for many years, and every year, I have observed significant innovations in technology training and skills development. Vietnam is definitely "sprinting toward its bright future," but there are always opportunities for expansion and improvement.
Overall, the technology training landscape ranges from extremely broad to very specific. A scan of technology-related training in the market will provide you with a large variety of coding programs, specific technical niche training, as well as siloed technology-type development programs, while on the other hand, exploring the various digital 4.0 and technology-oriented programs offered by global organizations with operations in Vietnam are focused on skills very specific to their organizational needs and business operations.
There exists a middle ground between these two extremes where more training/development innovations can happen. Just to caveat that such programs exist in Vietnam or are accessible to Vietnamese. However, I am keen to see more such programs that marry the business with the technology elements.
The survey's results show that Vietnam has a strong potential. The sheer positivity of the Vietnamese workforce's attitude toward the digital and technology revolution is very heart-warming and bodes well for the future.
Truong Thien Kim, Associate Director of Permanent Recruitment Services – Technology, Adecco Vietnam
While Vietnam boasts a large pool of tech talent, there might be a mismatch between the skills possessed by the workforce and the specific needs of businesses. The rapid advancement of technology requires up-to-date and specialized skills, and if the local workforce lacks these, it could hinder businesses' expansion and development plans.
The quality of education and training programs in Vietnam might vary across institutions and regions. Some graduates may not possess the practical knowledge and problem-solving abilities necessary to excel in real-world business scenarios. As a result, employers might face challenges in finding adequately skilled candidates for their tech roles.
While English proficiency is growing in Vietnam, there could still be a gap between what is required in the tech industry and the proficiency level of the tech workforce.
Talents constantly change jobs and are not committing to long-term positions or specific projects. As a result, it becomes challenging to establish clear career paths and product roadmaps within these companies.
If the workforce struggles to keep up with emerging technologies, businesses may face difficulties in implementing cutting-edge solutions and staying competitive. In addition, AI poses a significant challenge for developers in the near future, as it has the potential to replace many roles previously performed by humans.
While the technology training programs in Vietnam might cover theoretical concepts, there could be room for improvement in terms of practical application. Employers often seek candidates who can hit the ground running and apply their skills immediately. Therefore, training programs should incorporate hands-on projects, real-world simulations, and internships to provide students with practical experience.
Training programs should promote a culture of continuous learning, and there could be initiatives for professionals already in the workforce to upgrade their skills.
Beyond technical expertise, soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are crucial for tech professionals.
Vietnam has experienced significant economic growth and has a young, tech-savvy population. The government has also been supportive of the technology sector and has invested in developing tech-focused education initiatives. Vietnam has a thriving startup ecosystem, with numerous successful tech startups emerging in recent years. This indicates the presence of a strong talent pool capable of driving innovation in the technology industry.
Do Thu Huong, Human Resources Director of Coc Coc
The hiring of IT and ICT workers in Vietnam has remained high, especially since the government has stimulated digitalization.
However, Vietnamese businesses face some difficulties in employee performance, such as a lack of fundamental skills, language restrictions, and productivity-boosting.
In general, the quality of Vietnamese human resources has improved over the past decade, and Vietnam continues to be a strong market for tech talent despite the current economic slowdown.
However, there are still many candidates who lack or do not meet the requirements of basic skills such as data structure or structure design, even if they have reached the senior level. Not only hard skills, but also soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and attitude are important. IT workers sometimes focus too much on technical knowledge/skills and then forget to improve their soft skills such as communication or teamwork, which are necessary in the workplace.
Regarding current technology training programs in Vietnam, Vietnamese tech talent has been amongst the most sought-after internationally in the past few years. It proves that the quality of Vietnam's personnel is improving in a positive direction.
Unfortunately, this does not come from training programs at Vietnamese universities. Most of the IT staff at Coc Coc shared that they have to learn other necessary skills on their own. Universities and vocational schools need to improve the quality of their training programs to meet the integration requirements for socio-economic development.
What needs to be improved to meet the needs of employers includes focusing on practical training, not just theoretical and academic content; developing adaptability skills to respond quickly to uncertainty and rapidly changing technology; and becoming familiar with data-driven requirements in various aspects of the work environment.
Vietnam is already a hub for strong tech talent, according to the Southeast Asia Startup Talent Report 2023. Our people are qualified enough to compete with those in Singapore, etc. However, we can work better, improve the training, and raise the common base of human resources.