return icon

Vietnam shipbuilding industry short of skilled workers

Among the sounds of hammers and steel-cutting machines, 50-year-old Nguyen Ngoc Hong, a worker of Pha Rung Shipyard Company in Hai Phong City, puts a vessel through final tests after construction has been completed.


Workers at a company belonging to Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC). Due to heavy workload, many SBIC shipbuilders shifted to other companies offering higher wages. — VNA/VNS Photo Viet Hung


“Shipbuilders and repairmen, working indoors or outdoors, all have to suffer dust, noise and heat,” he told

“My job is less intense than many others. Some workers have to climb high scaffolding to weld ship hulls and complete details. The welders have to work in narrow spaces of closed, small, hot and dark cabins engulfed in smoke and the smell of oil.”

Having worked for the company, which belongs to State-owned Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC), for 27 years, Hong is among 730 workers still there after a large number left due to the heavy workload and low wages.

He said the monthly income of a worker is about VND10 million (US$435), not high compared to the workload, but means he can cover daily expenses.

“Shipbuilding requires workers to be more highly-skilled than other sectors. Other mechanical businesses attract workers with higher wages and better working conditions. Without relevant preferential policies, the Pha Rung Company risks losing workers,” Hong said.

To Thanh Ha, deputy director of Pha Rung Shipyard Company, said the company now has 730 workers compared to 830 last year and equivalent to nearly one fifth of the labour force in 2007, which was the heyday of the shipbuilding industry.

Although workers are ensured a stable job until 2020 thanks to existing orders, recruitment for the industry faces competition from new companies in neighbouring industrial zones which offer higher wages.

Facing a shortage of full-time staff, the company has to recruit part-time workers at peak times. It takes time to train those new workers, affecting production and business, he said.

Another SBIC unit in Hai Phong, Song Cam Shipyard Joint Stock Company, is also short of skilled labourers as many have left to work elsewhere.

It currently has 930 workers and needs 100 more to meet its production capacity.

According to Phan Dinh Luong, deputy director of Song Cam Company, the workload has increased since the company worked with Damen Shipyard Group of the Netherlands to make more types of ships. While the orders are available, there are not enough labourers to do the work.

Leaders of shipyard companies agreed that they must ensure stable work and wages in order to keep the builders with them for a long time.

“Workers might leave the job if their wages are paid two to three months behind schedule,” Luong said.

He said that companies must not owe social, health or unemployment insurance premiums and wage payments, and also offer preferential mechanisms such as meal breaks and bonuses for high productivity.

The shipyard industry depends on shipbuilding and repair orders so recruitment also depends on business and production profits. The company has worked with technical schools to seek more shipbuilders. However, the supply remains limited and faces competition from the mechanical sector, Ha, Pha Rung Company’s deputy director, said.

He said shipyards must step up training for workers, reorganise labour structure among departments to increase productivity, and increase wages and offer allowances for those holding important positions or skilled workers.



New FDI approvals plunge in Q1/2023

Although the number of new FDI projects approved in the first quarter this year grew over the same period in 2022, their capital pledges edged down.

Culture Trip shares surprises while enjoying beer in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the leading countries in beer consumption in Asia. Bia hoi (draught beer) is a favorite choice of many Vietnamese on hot summer days. But do foreign tourists know how to drink bia hoi like a local?

Vietnamese students win awards in Stanford University competition

Two first-year students from Vietnam are among the winners at Stanford University's TreeHacks - a technology competition for students. The team developed a VR glass device for debate training.

Vietnam enters Top 5 destinations for summer vacation

UK travel magazine Expedia has listed Vietnam among its Top 5 international destinations that visitors should visit this summer.

Five caves discovered in Quang Binh province

Five caves were recently discovered in Lam Hoa commune of Tuyen Hoa district in the central province of Quang Binh by experts of the British Royal Cave Association.


PM orders close coordination to remove obstables to property market


Top Vietnamese, Chinese legislators hold online talks

CAAV to trial biometric authentication at Van Don airport

Following a test operation at the Cat Bi International Airport in Haiphong City, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) will introduce biometric authentication technology at the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province.

Vietnam considers unilateral visa waivers for more countries

The government is going to ask the National Assembly to consider granting electronic visas to citizens of all countries and territories.

Places not to be missed when traveling to Can Tho

Although Can Tho province has seen fast economic growth, it still retains the typical cultural features of the Mekong River region. Here are its most attractive places:

Mui Ne among world’s top 5 destinations for hot air balloon ride

Mui Ne, a coastal fishing town in the southcentral province of Bình Thuan, has been named among the top five best destinations for a magical hot air balloon ride, according to

Medical-equipment license applications still being processed

About 7,000 dossiers applying for licenses for circulation of medical equipment are still unhandled. These include dossiers submitted a long time ago.

VN warns against downgrading COVID-19 status due to risk of new variants

The Ministry of Health has stated that while the COVID-19 situation is currently under control within the country, the risk of new, more dangerous variants emerging is too high to downgrade the status of the virus yet.

Appeals trial of chairman of Alibaba real estate scam delayed until May

The HCM City People’s Court has decided to delay the appeals trial of Alibaba Company owners and employees who were earlier found guilty of property fraud and money laundering.

Thanglong Warriors, Rohto Saigon Heat win VBA 3x3 tournaments

Thanglong Warriors proved their power with the second title of the VBA 3x3 Prime 2023 on March 26 in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province.