Not enough jobs but not enough workers either: paradox plagues industry

VIETNAM, Sept. 23 – HCM CITY – The labor market faces a paradox: Many workers are unemployed because their factories are not getting orders, but at the same time companies looking to expand cannot find enough workers.

Despite a month of courtship, Thuận Phương Garment and Embroidery Group was unable to hire 200 workers for its headquarters in District 6 of HCM City and the factories in Districts 12 and Bình Chánh and Long An Province. It offers an income of 7-13 million VNĐ (295-545 USD) per month.

HCM City’s Duy Anh Foods Company, which manufactures and exports noodles and rice paper, is in a similar situation: it wants to hire 250 to 300 workers, but can only meet 60 to 70 percent of this goal.

It can increase exports by 30 to 40 percent if it can hire enough workers, according to a spokesman.

The Chánh Thu Import-Export Limited Company, which locally trades and exports fresh fruit from Bến Tre province, has been trying to find enough workers to harvest durian, but has failed.

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Despite early preparation, it has only managed to cover 60 percent of its needs, but admittedly it is extremely difficult for companies to find workers who are skilled in selecting and processing durian.

It could only fulfill about 60 percent of the export orders.

“Fruit production has increased as export markets have expanded, particularly in China, the US and Japan.

“Therefore, the pressure to hire workers will be enormous in the near future.

“If this situation continues, it will be difficult to control the quality of agricultural exports.”

Companies use various recruiting channels such as staffing agencies, social media, and county job boards, but just can’t get enough applicants.

At the same time, unlike earlier in the year, many companies are facing the cancellation of export orders due to inflation in markets like the US and EU.

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As a result, workers’ incomes have fallen sharply, in many cases by up to 40 percent.

Trần Trung Hà, 28, from central Nghệ An Province, moved to Đồng Nai Province near HCM City in April in hopes of finding a well-paid job.

In the first two months he had a good income of about 11 million VNĐ per month, but since June his company’s orders have been delayed or canceled, which also reduced his income to only 6 million VNĐ.

Many unemployed people are becoming more choosy and comparing their previous salary with the new one.

Lê Thị Trâm Anh, 22, who was fired from a shoe company in May due to a lack of orders, is still looking for a job. Many clothing companies need workers, but Anh only wants to work for a leather shoe company.

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Trần Việt Anh, vice chairman of the HCM City Business Association, said the challenges are greater for businesses that require large numbers of workers, such as in the garment and footwear industry and in services such as logistics, delivery, export-import, and other.

Many companies are unable to meet demand due to labor shortages, said Nguyễn Văn Khánh, vice chairman of the HCM City Shoe and Leather Industry Association.

“Up to 80 percent of companies in the shoe and leather industry need workers.

“Many factories will lose orders if this shortage continues.”

The HCM City Shoe and Leather Association encourages member companies to mechanize, he said.

Experts are advising agricultural companies to first identify where workers are located before building any facilities and to work with local authorities to find workers. VNS

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