Concerned with expanding education and building skills for future employment, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), UNICEF and the Mekong Development Research Institute (MDRI) released today a report entitled “Assessment on Employability Skills Gaps and Good Practices by Businesses to Upskill Marginalized and Vulnerable Young People.”
The research explores current and future projected skills for employability for young people
among three industries: apparel and footwear, travel and tourism, and information-communication technologies (ICT). In total, over four in five surveyed firms value creativity, teamwork and active listening in their future young employees.
As per the findings, about 60% of young employees aged 15-24 are taking up informal employment. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Viet Nam's economy and labor force, young employees face increasing difficulty in transiting out of informal and unsecured employment. Many Vietnamese young people still lack formal technical training and transferable skills necessary to keep up with the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Even though education attainment can be used to predict labor market performance and vulnerability to automation, in reality firms still report a wide gap between formal qualifications and actual performance.
“Educators should collaborate much more with businesses; integrating soft-skills training, career guidance and longer apprenticeships/internships into their curriculum. Such reforms will help schools and vocational centres better gauge employers’ demand for skills and adapt their programmes to meet those demands. Students will certainly benefit from being better prepared, from a soft-skill and experiential standpoint, when they graduate and enter the workforce”, highlighted Lesley Miller, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Viet Nam.
Firms also report that foreign language and advanced IT skills are often evaluated as young employees’ weakest technical skills, while management and communication skills are generally rated among the weakest transferrable skills. It is found that Foreign Domestic Investment (FDI) enterprises are more likely to recruit vulnerable and marginalized young people than domestic firms. ICT firms are more willing to recruit people with disabilities but also disclose that gender stereotypes also drive away many competent female workers in traditionally male-dominated fields like ICT.
The assessment reveals that many young people in Viet Nam are not aware of the necessary employability skills to embrace chances for their professional life. Out-of-school adolescents and youth even face more obstacles to get formal employment, especially those aged 15-17 and marginalized groups.
“Regarding to the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, VCCI is responsible for leading the implementation of Objective 12.6. The Objective aims to encourage business community to apply sustainable practices which includes implementing social accountabilities with regards to poor and vulnerable groups to make sure no one is left behind, including youth. Currently, many young people are struggling with career orientation and self-equipped employability skills that match well to the labor market demands. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased difficulties to them, especially vulnerable and marginalized group to access to decent work opportunities. As a national organization that gathers and represents business community and businessman in Vietnam, VCCI encourages businesses to develop inclusive recruitment policy and CSR efforts, improve skill building program for young workers and offer an inclusive workplace,” said Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, Secretary-General of VCCI.
The report also summarizes good practices from different stakeholders to improve young people's employability and provides recommendations for stakeholders to offer decent jobs and employability-enhancing activities for young people, with a focus on marginalized and vulnerable groups.
“Compared to previous studies which mostly based on youth demand side, this assessment has complemented existing research on employability skills gaps among Vietnamese youth aged 15-29, by looking from the perspective of the employers (the supply side) through a firm survey. One of important findings from the assessment is that to close the employability skills gaps among adolescents and young people, it is crucial to have more effective communication and collaboration across all key stakeholders, including government agencies, schools, NGOs, and business Associations/ businesses. Without multilateral, intensified, and profound partnerships, stakeholders might independently develop insignificant projects that would end up being ineffective and costly”, stressed Mr. Phung Duc Tung, Director of Mekong Development Research Institute.
This launch event of this report is part of the collaboration project between UNICEF Viet Nam and VCCI on promoting Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) among Enterprises in Viet Nam, with an aim to create an enabling environment for businesses and strengthen business knowledge, capacity, and commitment to respect and support the rights of children in Viet Nam.
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