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Why are thousands of public employees taking private-sector jobs?

Many public employees have recently quit their jobs and taken a job in the private sector. This indicates that the public sector is not attractive and that many problems need to be addressed.

Specifically, in HCM City, 6,177 public employees quit their jobs between January 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022. In the central city of Da Nang, more than 300 employees left state agencies in the first half of 2022. In the health sector alone, nearly 10,000 employees have resigned since 2021.

In the health sector alone, nearly 10,000 employees have resigned since 2021.

Who is leaving state agencies?

Unfortunately, many public employees with limited ability stay in their positions at state agencies, while those who quit their jobs are capable.

This phenomenon has affected the capacity and quality of state agencies and the quality of public services, at a time when the state needs to raise capacity to adapt to digital transformation and solve socio-economic challenges.

Among the many reasons for quitting, two stand out.

First, the wage gap between the public and private sectors is too wide. The average salary of public employees is about 5 - 6 million VND/month (US$230-250) while the average salary in the private sector is about 15-20 million VND/month ($700-$850).

Second, in state agencies, the salary is low and the working environment has many problems. 

In general, low wages along with an unhealthy working environment are the main reasons why qualified public staff leave for the private sector which offers a better income and working environment. 

Drastic reforms needed

It is clear that state agencies should solve these problems through various measures.

First, it is necessary to streamline the apparatus and staff; accelerate the autonomy mechanism; implement open competition in recruiting and appoint public employees to improve the capacity of the apparatus; and promote social activities to enhance the good image and social status of public employees to attract young talents to pursue careers in the public sector with pride and aspirations to contribute to the development of the country.

Pham Manh Hung


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