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E-commerce sector in dire need of qualified candidates

The tight supply of qualified candidates in the labour market is a glaring issue facing e-commerce firms, according to insiders.

An e-commerce training course at an university. — Photo vneconomy.vn

Le Mai Anh, Vice Chairman of the e-commerce solution provider Smart OSC, said that his firm has 1,000 employees on the payroll and it needs about 500 new ones every year.

The firm has relied on campus recruitment to fill its vacancies but to no avail. Few candidates have the adequate skill set for the jobs. It has considered finding new blood elsewhere, such as in India and Sri Lanka.

"It's a tough job to recruit qualified staff, especially those who can speak English," he said.

The Vietnam E-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency revealed that just 30 per cent of staff in e-commerce solution providers have been trained in e-commerce.

The rest have graduated with degrees in other majors, including business administration and information technology.

The major-job mismatch indicates that the demand for e-commerce-majored candidates is significant and will grow larger in the next few years.

Vu Thi Minh Tu, Public Relations Manager of the e-commerce platform Lazada, shared this view, saying that the demand for highly-skilled e-commerce candidates is soaring and has surpassed the supply.

The demand-supply imbalance has left firms with no choice but to employ non-e-commerce-majored candidates, including business administration and marketing, to fill the gap.

Tran Manh Cuong, a human resource specialist at the e-commerce solution provider Sapo, echoed Tu's view, saying that candidates cut out for e-commerce are falling short of demand and this is where non-e-commerce-majored candidates come in.

A problem that compounds the situation is that e-commerce graduates themselves normally lack hands-on experience. Firms have to run many training courses to get them ready for their jobs, adding to recruitment costs.

Some universities have begun to adapt their curriculum to the situation.

Nguyen Duc Tai, Head of the E-Commerce and Digital Economy Faculty, Dai Nam University, said that the e-commerce curriculum at his university has been designed for practical rather than theoretical knowledge.

Under the curriculum, his undergraduates are required to work in a team and create their own products to gain firsthand experience. The experience, he believes, would keep them ready for e-commerce jobs, obviating the need for pre-employment training.

Vu Xuan Nam, Head of the Economic Information System Faculty, Thai Nguyen University, hoped that universities and firms would cooperate more closely to add more practical knowledge to the curriculum.

In response, Smart OSC said it is willing to dispatch its specialists to universities to help undergraduates with their training courses, which are expected to equip them with firsthand experience.

Nearly 75 per cent of Internet users in Viet Nam go shopping online and nearly 5.5 million users got in on the act during the pandemic, exposing the need for more employment in the sector. — VNS

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