High-quality human resource is always a target of any economy.
On the occasion of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 2) held recently in Hanoi, VietNamNet co-operated with the World and Vietnam newspaper to organize the online roundtable talks with the theme "Human Resources in the Digital Age: Challenges in Vietnam" in order to provide a multi-dimensional perspective on this issue. This is also a major topic for high-level policy dialogue within the framework of SOM 2.
The talks were broadcast live at 10am on May 23, 2017, and streamed live via fanpage Vietnamnet.vn with the participation of four guests.
- Mr. Vu Khoan, Former Deputy Prime Minister
- Dr. Dao Quang Vinh, Director of the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs, Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs
- Ass. Prof., Dr. Huynh Quyet Thang, Vice Rector of the Hanoi University of Technology
- Mr. Hoang Nam Tien, Chairman of FPT Software
This is the content of the first part of the talks.
Journalist Pham Huyen: Mr. Dao Quang Vinh, are there any numbers that address Vietnam's fundamental challenges that will increase in the digital era with respect to human resources?
Dr. Dao Quang Vinh, Director of the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs, Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs
Dr. Dao Quang Vinh: Our recent studies show that there is a great gap between the need for skills and the ability to satisfy that demand.
It is clearly shown through the number of unemployed university graduates at the end of last year, which reached more than 200,000 people.
Demand for IT workers from 2012 to 2015 doubled. It is forecast that by 2020, Vietnam’s IT industry will need up to 80,000 workers, while domestic training institutions will only be able to train about 30,000 people. It means that we now have a considerable distance between the training capacity and the recruitment needs of enterprises.
In the world, recent studies also show that in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the increasing use of new technologies, the demand for human resources in the data analytic field will increase very fast.
For example, in Malaysia, from now to 2020 the demand for data analysis will increase fourfold, about twofold in the Philippines. In Singapore, the number will increase from 9,000 to about 15,000 people, and from 2.4 million to about 2.7 million people in the US.
In Vietnam, some recent studies suggest that the number of data analysis staff can increase to tens of thousands. However, our training facilities are not ready to meet this high demand.
That is not to mention the middle-level technical human resources to serve businesses, because the application of new technology in production facilities is very fast, with lot of breakthroughs. If the labor market is not ready, it will be very difficult to provide human resources for businesses.
Mr. Hoang Nam Tien: People often say that in this age, robots will replace people and that is true. For example, 2.5 million workers in the garment industry will face the possibility of losing their jobs in the next few years.
But in the opposite side, we need thousands, tens of thousands of employees. In this age, our company needs the workers who know about cloud computing, mobile computing, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, etc. In the next 3 months, when students graduate, FPT software will recruit 2,500 people and I'm afraid there will not be enough qualified people to recruit.
Journalist Pham Huyen: Mr. Huynh Quyet Thang, as a representative from the Hanoi University of Technology, what do you think about the number of employees – more than 2,500 people - that Mr. Tien’s company needs to recruit in the upcoming time?
Ass. Prof., Dr. Huynh Quyet Thang, Vice Rector of the Hanoi University of Technology
Dr. Huynh Quyet Thang: In the field of information technology, the Hanoi University of Technology and the Institute of Information Technology and Communications currently recruit about 800 students a year, and about 700 students in the field of electronic telecommunications. Meanwhile, the number assigned by the State is about 1,500 students. It is our school's responsibility to train these students with good knowledge and soft skills to meet the needs of business.
However, I thinkwe need to have more accurate forecasts of the needs of human resources of industries so that we can allocate reasonable quotas for training facilities. This is a macro level task. But within the framework of our university, we will do our best to fulfill our responsibilities.
Journalist Pham Huyen: I have a concern to share with Mr. Hoang Nam Tien. It is often said that many manual workers will later face unemployment because of the replacement of robots and smart applications. Do you think that in the near future, Vietnam's labor may be unemployed because of the rise of the fourth Industrial Revolution? From the anger of a business, do you have any initiative to solve this problem?
Mr. Hoang Nam Tien: It is true that the fourth industrial revolution has been recently mentioned in Vietnam but actually in other countries it has traveled a relatively long distance.
The term "dark factory" means a factory without lights because the factory employs only robots so it does not need lights anymore. Just recently, Foxconn, one of the companies that provide assembly service for Apple, put into work 60,000 robots that can replace millions of workers. Such things have happened, so what do we do?
When we return to this issue, we still face the old story, how to have laborers suited to the international environment. Here I want to talk about the most advanced environments in the world, such as America, Japan and Europe.
Former Deputy PM Vu Khoan (left) and Mr. Hoang Nam Tien, Chairman of FPT Software
Therefore, we have suggested some methods and we are currently implementing them: We are testinga fast-train and fast-work model. Specifically, we still train college students but we change the education process so that our students can go to work after only two years of training.
We affirm that under the current curriculum, after only two years students can go to work, of course, with certain conditions. After going to work, they can choose not to graduate from college, or return to college to study for two more years to earn a college degree.
Here the views of businesses and also state agencies of neglecting degrees is very important. You can do the job, no need for a degree. But this is very difficult because it is contrary to what we still think about, the traditions of learning in our country: if you go to school, you must have a degree!
The second suggestion is that our training is career change training. At present, society is changing quickly, the economy requires different skills. There are many people who study electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, but when they graduate and go to work for a number of years, they are not used properly. Their income is also not good, so they have a need to switch professions.
We strongly recommend universities, especially large universities such as the Hanoi University of Technology, to offer a 12 to 14 month training program for those who wish to have a second university degree. These people will be provided with the most up-to-date skills, so that they can work immediately after graduation.
These are the two proposals that we are implementing right now. I believe that if they can be done, within a very short time, about two to four years, we will have hundreds of thousands of people ready for the demands of this new shift.
Journalist Pham Huyen: What do you think about Mr. Tien’s proposals, Mr. Huynh Quyet Thang?
From left: Dr. Huynh Quyet Thang, Mr. Vu Khoan and Mr. Hoang Nam Tien
Dr. Huynh Quyet Thang: From the perspective of a university, the school needs to train in the form of layers.
According to some surveys, for example at our Hanoi University of Technology, about 5-15% of the best students can get overseas scholarships, or are employed with very high salary. The remaining 35% work in businesses with specified direction. About 50% of the rest go to work in the businesses with the orientation and specification are less than those required by the two kinds of the businesses above.
At present, the Hanoi University of Technology enrolls about 6,000 students each year, so we also have to find the businesses that can meet the best of demands for jobs of about 3,000 students, corresponding to the other 50%. We also have to make sure that the top 15% of the other students can earn very high incomes, have in-depth knowledge and can apply for scholarships immediately. We consider it the responsibility of our school.
Thus, our university need to work with businesses to understand businesses’ requirement for skills so that we can train qualified students. At the same time, we must have laboratories and international cooperations that suit the current situation, when new technologies are released on a daily basis and the frontiers of research between labs will be gone. Therefore, our students need to integrate into the world.
We also set very clear orientation, and our staff members are classified by such groups. Teachers who studied abroad, have good international relations and have good research ability will join the research group of the top 15% of students. Teachers who have good relations with businesses, good practical knowledge will train 35% and 50% of students of the second and third group. The school will create conditions for the teachers to work with their true desire, aspirations and properly promote their strong points. Our school is now promoting the ownership and mastership of not only the students, but also the school leaders.
Secondly, we want to promote cooperation with businesses to identify the demand and the skill standards of employees that they want so as to help our students have the best working skills upon graduation.
Thirdly, we want to try to strengthen international cooperation in training, actively use the network of alumni of the Hanoi University of Technology to connect with former talented students who are currently working abroad.
According to our statistics, in the past 10 years, about 5% of graduates of the Hanoi University of Technology got very good scholarships in other countries and about 80-90% of them stayed abroad for work or study. We consider them a very good network to support our lecturers and our labs on how to advance in this digital age.
There are many challenges but the opportunities are also great. I very much agree with Mr. Tien's proposal about the two-year training program and then students can work immediately. Vietnam has overemphasized degrees and our vocational training college system cannot develop partly because of that thinking. There are professions that earn good money without requiring degrees, so, why not direct students to study in such fields?
Of course universities will not accept the two-year training without a degree model. This is not the thinking of universities. The social responsibility of each university will be different from that of colleges and businesses.
Journalist Pham Huyen: Mr. Vu Khoan, you attended the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Human Resources in the Digital Age - an event within the framework of the recent APEC SOM 2 in Hanoi. Could you share with us the big issues that Vietnam are facing as well as the concerns of businesses, researchers and educators which were presented at the dialogue?
Former Deputy PM Vu Khoan
Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan: This year the APEC SOM 2 took place in Vietnam at a time when the world economy was transforming deeply under the influence of new and powerful inventions of science and technology. Therefore, the content of cooperation in science and technology, including cooperation in training Human Resources, was a focus. That was the initiative of Vietnam. Vietnam was aware of this issue and during the preparation of APEC meetings it put the issue of scientific and technological cooperation as the new content of APEC.
I think, perhaps APEC has long talked about three pillars, but it has only focused on trade as the main topic.
With regard to human resources, I think we should not just think of the employers. There are three issues that, in my opinion, should be noted.
The first is the trainer, the inventor of invention, not just the user. In this group, our distance is even further.
The second is the users of invention. We should not just think of big companies like FPT, the Hanoi University of Technology, or the Institute of Labor and Social Sciences, but the people themselves. People now have direct access to those, and among them, there are government officials.
The third is training to deal with new ones. When we talk about this issue it should also be extended to all three subjects. If we only train the users, for example, the software makers of FPT, it is important, but it is also very important how more than 90 million people will approach it. What should we do if several million people do not know how to use it?
I think this is too new, too complicated, and we have only mentioned it without doing much yet.
Even APEC has just approached the issue. In that situation, how can we utilize international integration and APEC integration in particular? It is through the bilateral channels and multilateral fora that we can train human resources, as well as through FDI enterprises because the vocational schools of the Ministry Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs are not enough. We have to rely on international cooperation for training. It is very difficult to do it alone.