According to a recent report released by International Labour organization (ILO), workers in Vietnam’s two major and growing production sectors – garments and electronics – are at risk. The study found that 86 per cent of garment workers are facing increased automation and could be replaced by robots in the coming decades.
The two sectors provide the country’s key exports and account for around 40 per cent of the nation’s manufacturing jobs, but productivity and the application of technology in the workplace are much lower in comparison to other South East Asian countries. In Vietnam’s garment sector, for example, productivity is only 20 per cent of Thailand’s and nearly the same as Cambodia’s workers.
The dearth of skill development in the country is aggravating the challenges for the garment sector as the report stated, “The garment production in Vietnam currently relies on a large number of workers rather than highly-skilled employees.” Vietnam’s overall labour force is expected to grow to 62 million by 2025, posing a very difficult task for the country to create more than 700,000 thousand jobs every year.
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Another study conducted by the Institute of Labour Sciences and Social Affairs also named creativity, foreign languages, teamwork and problem solving as the core competencies needed to survive at the modern workplace. Both ILO and Institute called for better connections between Vietnam’s policy-makers, employers and training institutions to adapt to the changing workplace and technological innovations.