Vietnam Business Channel

Vietnam faces a critical shortage of IT talent

Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MET) released a report last week that says that Vietnam is critically short of information technology (IT) personnel, and that by 2020 companies will have more than 400,000 IT positions open. According to MET statistics, 37.5% of universities and colleges in Vietnam offer ICT majors and are graduating 50,000 IT students each year.

There are also recent statistics from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) that show there are at least 30,000 new job openings each year in the software and IT industry, so they believe that the new graduate pool is able to fill new job openings, but acknowledge there aren’t enough additional graduates to fill back-logged positions.

VietnamWorks, a leading HR consulting company also estimates that by 2020 there will be a minimum of 400,000 open IT positions, but the company differs with the Ministry of Information and Communications and estimates that the IT industry will need 78,000+ new workers each year, a 260% projection above MET’s numbers.

One of the problems that both MET and MIC have identified is accurately projecting the subjects that should be taught in IT classes. Should the curriculum be based upon current needs and technologies or the technologies that are being developed in the future? And should courses be based upon broad understandings of subjects such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Digital Media, the Internet of Things or should there be specialty courses that lead to both bachelor and master level degrees?

Phi Anh Tuan, Vice President of the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association, said that domestic IT training programs have not met demand, especially for high quality engineers. He also noted that when engineers enter companies, only 27% of workers can meet the requirements of the companies that they hire, and the majority of engineers need a minimum of three months of training to fulfill their job requirement.

For many small and medium companies in Vietnam, hiring staff who are adding costs to the company, but who aren’t productive for their first three or four months in the company creates a paradigm where they can’t afford to hire new staff, yet can’t afford not to hire new staff.

Tuan from the HCMC Computer Association said that one of the key issues is the need for IT students and engineers to continuously study and to improve their IT skills and that those who want to excel in their companies will also need to work on their soft skills, including how to develop and manage relationships with others in the companies that employ them.