COVID-19 impact on businesses and employment
Vietnam Employment Outlook Survey in the Second Half of 2021 is aimed at forecasting the hiring intentions by employers under the impact of the global health crisis in Vietnam. The survey was conducted from mid-May to mid-July 2021, amidst the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Vietnam. This pandemic resurgence was recognized as the longest and most serious wave since the beginning, with 62/63 cities and provinces affected. According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), in the second quarter of 2021, there were 12.8 million people aged 15 and over across the country negatively affected by the pandemic, including those who lost their jobs, got furloughed, worked alternate shifts, reduced working hours, reduced income, etc.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with 10 - 250 employees accounted for two-thirds in our survey. Our respondents are businesses operating in 17 industries, from Manufacturing & Processing, Wholesale, Retail & Trading, Construction, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Education & Training to Construction, FMCG, Professional Consulting Services, Transportation, Communications, Hospitality and Real Estate, etc.
At the time of the survey, 40% of employers reported that their businesses were impacted by the pandemic at mild to medium level (1% - 49% of activity halted), over 19% were significantly affected (50% - 79% of activity halted) and 4% said that their organizations had been shut down or faced possible closures. In total, the number of businesses affected by the pandemic from mild to severe level accounted for nearly 64%, while those remained unaffected made up for 36% of the surveyed participants. Despite the much heavier impacts of the health crisis as compared with the first half of 2021, these findings have shown the efforts and determination of the entire economy as well as the Government's companionship and direction via various policies in anti-epidemic, business support and promoting economic growth.
The fourth wave of the pandemic lasting over the past three months has taken a toll on Vietnam socio-economically at a larger and more serious scale. Therefore, businesses, notably small and medium ones, are to be well prepared for the challenges ahead.
Employment forecasted to be positive in the second half of 2021
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), regardless of the difficulties caused by the ongoing pandemic, GDP in the first 6 months of 2021 increased by 5.64%, higher than the growth rate of 1.82% in the same period last year. Noticeably, Manufacturing & Processing sector is the growth engine of the whole economy, contributing 2.9% points to the economic growth rate .
Even though an economic picture of brighter tone is to be expected, forecasts show employers’ less confidence to recruit, compared to the first half of 2021. From our findings, more than half of surveyed enterprises (53.3%) anticipated a rise in their employment while over one-fourth (27%) said they had no plan to hire more. In total, more than 80% of the surveyed enterprises plan to increase or at least maintain the current headcounts (as compared with 93% of the equivalent index in the first two quarters). Meanwhile, nearly one fifth (19.7%) of the respondents announced their plan to trim hiring activities.
Ms. Nguyen Thu Trang, Country Head of Permanent Recruitment & Executive Search Services, ManpowerGroup Vietnam, shared “We are noticing an increase in permanent recruitment and executive search, especially in IT, Electronics, Energy and High Technology. Given that the labour market is facing skills scarcity, senior IT and business transformation roles are particularly hard to fill. Moreover, under the global impact of the pandemic and technological evolution, the job market is seeing a boost in demand for positions that require digital skills, such as those in the Finance and Banking sector.”
Despite the crisis, it is interesting to find that employment activities are likely to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels, though not as remarkably as in the first half of 2021. As per our survey results, 40% of employers expected that their hiring activities would return to pre-pandemic levels in the next three months, and over 24% of enterprises anticipating employment to return to normal in the next six months.
In the longer term, however, over one-fourth of the enterprises (26.3%) said it would take a year or longer for their hiring to return back to normal.
Strongest recruitment plans in the next three to six months were reported in six industries, namely Manufacturing & Processing, Wholesale, Retail & Trading, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Education & Training, Construction and Professional Consulting Services. Manufacturing & Processing, the leading driver of national economy accounted for 26.5% of hiring intentions in the coming three months. Wholesale, Retail & Trading and ICT are also likely to grow stronger in the coming months, making up for 16.3% and 15.3% respectively of employers planning to hire in the short term.
Ms. Le Thi Kim, Head of Staffing & Outsourcing Services, North, ManpowerGroup Vietnam shared “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the domestic labour market has been witnessing an increase in the relocation of factories from overseas to Vietnam. This also means that more job opportunities are created for the local workforce. Noticeably, ManpowerGroup Vietnam has received numerous orders for staffing and outsourcing services from domestic and foreign enterprises, especially in the manufacturing & processing sector - electronic components, automotive assembling, packaging, warehouse, and others like transportation, logistics, infrastructure construction, etc."
Surveyed employers were also asked about their plan to arrange working options in order to keep their employees safe while maintaining effective business operations. The employers revealed that they would implement multiple working options for their staffs in the next 3 – 6 months, depending on the industry characteristics. About one-fourth of enterprises want to retain absolute work-place based working. Meanwhile, over 41% of the enterprises plan to implement hybrid work mode and nearly 22% choose to apply flexible shift patterns (especially in the manufacturing sector). Just nearly 9% of the surveyed companies intend to arrange for their employees to work remotely full-time.
Facing the acute talent shortage caused by the global health crisis, the surveyed employers planned to use diverse workforce solutions, among which Staffing & Outsourcing and Permanent recruitment & Executive search were the leading options - chosen by 41.4% and 40.8% companies respectively. A considerable 30% of the employers chose HR consulting services - Outplacement and Leadership Development. Expatriate services (work permit and visa application) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) were picked by over 15% and 11% respectively by the respondents as suitable solutions in the current situation.
About the survey
Vietnam Employment Outlook Survey in the second half of 2021 was jointly conducted online by ManpowerGroup Vietnam Research Team and the National Employment Services Center (under Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs) with 152 employers in 17 industries nationwide from 14th May to 14th July 2021. The respondents were Human Resources Managers, Talent Acquisition Managers, business owners and HR Specialists in diverse industries, namely Manufacturing & Processing, Construction, FMCG, Information & Communications Technology, Professional Consulting Services, Finance and Banking, Food & Beverage, Construction, Real Estate, Wholesale, Retail & Trading, Transportation and Logistics, Aviation, Hospitality, etc.