In October 2022, Nguyen Trung Hieu, 34, left Hanoi for HCM City to look for a job. Hieu has 10 years of experience in working for restaurants and cafes, but he lacked a certificate of training, so he could not find a job with a desired salary.

After one month, Hieu became a bartender at a café with the wage of VND25,000 per hour. With 8 working hours a day and 26 working days a month, he can receive VND5.2 million a month. As the amount is not high enough to cover his basic needs, he has an extra job as a kitchen maid at a restaurant in the evening. 

So, if he works from 6 am to 10 pm every day, or 16 hours, his income is still lower than VND15 million a month.

Hieu is a typical example of the workers in the F&B industry – having low income and unstable jobs and becoming unemployed at any time. 

A survey of 3,000 F&B companies conducted by Weploy, an app providing provisional personnel, showed that 60 percent of workers in the industry don’t have stable incomes, jobs and remuneration policy, while 40 percent of workers are not trained by restaurant owners. 

They lack skills to serve customers well, so there is no roadmap for them to get promotion. The workers consider their jobs as temporary.

According to Giang Nguyen, the owner of a restaurant serving European dishes in district 1, newly recruited workers have to learn skills themselves to adapt to the working environment as soon as they can. 

The restaurant doesn’t have specialists or time to train them. The workers are sacked after a certain time if they cannot satisfy the requirements.

Vo Huynh Ngoc Phuong, the owner of a café on Nguyen Thi Thap Street in district 7, admitted that candidates will be hired if they just don’t make mistakes. It is nearly impossible to ask for professional service from workers in the service sector.

Supply-demand imbalance

In its report about the F&B market in Vietnam in 2022 released by iPOS, Vietnam was estimated to have 338,600 restaurants and cafes by the end of 2022, with revenue of VND610 trillion. The figure could reach VND720.3 trillion in 2023.

Though economic performance is predicted to face difficulties in 2023, Euromonitor, the market analysis firm, believes that the Vietnamese F&B market value in 2023 will still grow by 18 percent.

Nevertheless, personnel will be a big problem in the industry. According to iPOS, 99 percent of F&B facilities have worries about personnel. About 49.5 percent of them face difficulties in seeking personnel, and 37 percent find personnel unprofessional.

Trang Cong Phat, CEO of Weploy Vietnam, noted an imbalance in labor supply and demand. 

F&B enterprises need workers with high professional standards, but the workers available cannot satisfy quality. 

As a result, the average job-hopping rate in the industry is 60 percent.

A restaurant chain with 60,000 workers nationwide revealed that the job turnover rate is up to 80 percent. Employees don’t intend to work for a long time, thus affecting the stable operation of the whole chain.

According to Weploy, the jobs of serviceman, cashier, bartender, handyman and receptionist are the positions that F&B companies need. 

They often seek workers by cooperating with vocational schools or local job centers.

In previous years, it was easy to find jobs. In industrial zones in Dong Nai, many enterprises had high demand for workers, while workers often changed their jobs and sought jobs with better pay. But unskilled workers now struggle to find jobs. 

However, enterprises have set higher requirements. Candidates have to have professional knowledge and skills to work immediately.

Nguyen Duy Quang from Ninh Thuan province said at first, he intended to stay in hometown after Tet, but as he could not find a job there, he returned to Dong Nai. However, he did not find any job as employers asked for degrees and certificates, while Quang graduated from secondary school only.

Tran Anh Phuong from Gia Lai Province said that he had not found a job yet. For the time being, he earns his living as a shipper, however, the income is unstable.

Tran Chung