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Since march 2022, many jobs in Vietnam are in demand. This article explains why, how to find a job and what to aim for. Teaching English only belongs to the past.
Why jobs in Vietnam are in high demand in 2022
To name a few major developments during Covid that boost Vietnam job market for foreigners:
- US-China trade war made many factories relocate to Vietnam like Apple
- China frontier closers affecting the supply chain so the world purchasers are looking for a China+1 base for suppliers
- All countries trading with the USA, counting on their China factories, now fear retaliation being banned for trade in Asia and EU as ‘made in China’ and not only for tech products.
70% Expats lost their job in Vietnam since March-2020 lockdown
It is not well known that since March 2020, Vietnam closed its borders provoking massive loss of expat jobs, mainly in hospitality and Imports/distribution of foreign products. This resulted in 40% of expats leaving Vietnam.
During 2021, the fear of the highly contagious Delta and Omicron variant, Vietnam went on pressing by not renewing the existing Visa. NB. The main reason is probably the shortage of ICU Intensive Care Units for lethal epidemics like Covid. The second wave was a 30% outflow as per the registrars of foreign embassies in Vietnam.
The windfall of US-China trade war attracts jobs and factories in Vietnam
During the 2-years 2020-2021 of lockdown, the only foreigners admitted to the country were:
- Diplomats and NGO in health
- Investors with a minimum investment of VND3Bn, the bar was raised sharply to US$150,000 as Vietnam became prime destination for China +1 alternative
- Experts, meaning industry experts, with minimum 20-years experience, mainly in setting-up factories, energy or export related infrastructure
NB. During those 2-years even families could not re-unite if the Expat was ‘just in management position or dependent’, not to mention those illegally working on tourist 90-day visas could not return to their ‘home in Vietnam’ Some tough years where families were separated for 2-years and more.
Other factors for the boom needs for foreigner jobs in Vietnam
- The Myanmar coup, annihilated 7 years of opening since 2015 Aung San Suu Kyi, pushing investors out to Vietnam for some
- World developed economies, led by the USA anti-China, looking to diversify or counter power with factories in Vietnam
- China’s expansionist policy accelerated the anti-China move to Vietnam by big manufacturing powerhouse countries like Japan, Korea or Taiwan.
- The legendary flexibility and adaptability of the workforce to high quality and smaller orders
- A non-muslim country ranked highly appreciated for security, expat friendly and ‘dolce vita’ for cheap.
What jobs for foreigners are in high demand in Vietnam today and why?
As per the #1 job search website in Vietnam vietnamworks, the highest shortage of management skills are
What jobs are in demand now in Vietnam
Just follow the daily newsletters showing big players moving factories to China, Apple, LG and recently the Danish toy LEGO.
For example, the factory investment is US$1Bn, near Hochiminh city, with a double ambition:
- supply the world with their more and more sophisticated design, assembling plastic blocs, Lego Education electronics toys
- Carbon neutral, clean and sustainable factory
Obviously speaking English may be a prerequisite for work but whatever skill you have to add on top: in plastics, toy design, packaging, clean energy, sustainable development will open your doors as those skills are not yet in the Vietnamese resumes and experience to international standards.
English + 1 working skill to up the way Vietnamese work
Simply put, foreigner jobs are in demand by any Export businesses where the factories in Vietnam, foreign or locals, are committed to expand. They need an Expat Interface between the tough requirements by EU/USA/Japan in terms of security and health compliance. Not to mention the cultural requirements needed in IT customer needs analysis/interface or BPO business processing operations.
Import wise, new needs by Vietnamese consumers and Importing hi-end brands traders, also see a new need for foreign brand ‘ambassadors’ to market the soul and culture of the products. Wine merchants representatives all over the country.
As an example the most famous Expat jobs are held by Mr Park Hang-seo, Korean coach of the Vietnam national football team, Philippe Troussier, coach for the U-23 football team and their physiotherapist is Mr Masuda.
Vietnamese just can’t learn that much of hundreds years of culture and techniques flooded a protective country
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Screen the jobs search websites and expats groups
If you are serious about moving in, the conditions are drastically different. Before Covid as you understand, any visa to enter would then have some financial arrangements that will get you an extension for another 3-month, with the famous visa run to Moc Bai, Cambodia border, 5-hours roundtrip.
That is over for the time being due to abuse by the many visa agents and embassies.
Here is the latest report on jobs search and lack of skills as of july 2022: vietnamworks.com and Navigos and the #1 online & offline jobs in Vietnam website
Look at the low hanging fruit: Jobs that you can take adding english
You have been educated at some skills back in your home country, just stick to this + add english and find which companies already trade with your home country.
Whatever the skill and experience you have been working at, be confident that it is in need in Vietnam. Maybe if it is dusty, make a quick immersion in the latest development at home before you offer your skills and move in.
How to get that dream job as an Expat in Vietnam?
What is your competitive advantage to apply for a job in Vietnam: foreign culture, sector knowledge, contacts in the business, ready to move in with clients or suggest your country business to start at cost price then more if you succeed.
You can get yourself into psychology if you are not the only one with the skill. But moreover, you are at a disadvantage not speaking the language and applying for a management position. Forget any labor and time intensive work it is not sustainable unless you are OK with à US$350/month salary.
Both from abroad or from Vietnam, flexibility will be needed and as we say poker you don’t want to spend too much ‘in the pot just to see’.
You are in a frontier land, act as a pioneer with the risks. Of course, if you have some savings to spend by the time you find your job’s match.
What is your competitive advantage? pitch for targeted companies
Let’s be straightforward, there is 100 Mio Vietnamese, 50% workers, just 3% of outstanding ‘locals’ out of 150,000 candidates for the job. They know the culture, the language and have been exposed to the world since 2000 when the Internet connected Vietnam to the world. This is not counting the 4Mio Vietnamese from overseas diaspora exiled: trained in Europe, the USA and Asia, which easily triples the candidates to 500,000 candidates.
So the question most expats should ask themselves: ‘what is the value-added I can bring to Vietnam and my employer that will be appreciated and rewarded at the salary package x3 to x10 times à Vietnamese manager?
Web-based search and engagement is the key to prepare landing a job
There are plenty of leads for jobs in Vietnam, Linkedin country groups, FB sectoral groups, Expat groups, your country business group and of course, the recruitment websites like vietnamworks.com or more specialized like itviec.com
You can line up interviews ahead of time, and why not get an ‘business’ invitation letter by an NGO, Vietnamese or foreign company based in Vietnam.
Land in Vietnam, for 3-months search for your dream job
Apart from a few exceptions, where you are well-known in your industry and highly recommended, Vietnamese employers -foreign or locals- will want to meet you in person and may recruit you as ‘love at first sight’.
- Business in Vietnam is going fast. Needs are not planned -like a defection or a new market requiring an ‘Expat face’ interface.
- The best proof for employers, that you are motivated to reside in Vietnam and know how to work with Vietnamese people, is to be already here and present in front of them. A very simple principle that avoid false promises
- Whether you get an invitation from an entity for 3-month ‘market study’ in exchange of volunteering, you will have plenty of time to show up at interviews while you get the feel is Expat life in Vietnam is for you or not.
BE LEGAL in your Vietnam job search from the beginning
The current complaint, by English teachers mainly, about Vietnam making it difficult to get work permit and TRC, the sesame Temporary resident card is a 2-sided wrong-doing.
- On 1 side, the Vietnamese immigration turned a blind -and sometimes profitable- eye to the arrangements by Vietnamese companies, agents and embassies to provide 90-day tourist/business visas instead of work permit visa or TRC. Thus escaping all kinds of controls on foreigners activities, that are so important for the Ministry of Interior & National security
- On the other hand, Foreigners used this loophole to work in Vietnam, reside and sometimes retire for many years on, escaping all social contributions and income taxes.
- One of the big advantages of being legitimate is you will know if your employer -foreign or local- is the real deal or not: willing to pay for you what is needed (social security, work permit and income taxes) to retain your skills. So many teachers have been cheated by schools starting with not arranging the work permit visa. And of course, you have no risk being blacklisted by the immigration police from Vietnam for an unlimited period of time.
Unfortunately, the visa history, legitimate or not, has been recorded since 2015, making it easy for the Immigration police to spot who have been abusing the system with repeat renewals of 90-day visas over the years.
Conclusion jobs for foreigners in Vietnam offers bright perspectives
The beginning stages of Vietnam economy 2010-2015 starting, where English teacher’s schools were enough to attend for Vietnamese to find a well-paid job at an international company are over. Today, Vietnamese groups are developing with international service standards in Vietnam but also abroad. As we write, Vinfast, the EV automobile arm of Vingroup, is opening a USD5Bn in the USA and opening 5 branches in main capitals worldwide. In 20-years, most Vietnamese entrepreneurs outgrow their main products and markets, they are now offering jobs to foreigners to help to accompany and elevate their employees to world-class business.