The first Viet Nam Employment Trends Report

The report highlights labour market gains in recent years and the extent to which decent employment objectives have been achieved in Viet Nam.

Press release | 29 January 2010

(ILO Viet Nam) – A new report named Viet Nam Employment Trends was released today by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA). The report highlights labour market gains in recent years and the extent to which decent employment objectives have been achieved in Viet Nam.

The report was prepared by the recently established Labour Market Information Centre of the Bureau of Employment (BoE) under MoLISA with the technical support from International Labour Organization (ILO) through Labour Market Project funded by the European Union (EU).

“It is the first Viet Nam Employment Trends report of a planned series reviewing a set of internationally adopted key labour market indicators for the period 1997 to 2007. There are highlights on important gains which have been made with respect to employment and unemployment indicators in line with recent economic growth rates in Viet Nam”. During the meeting, Madame Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs emphasized. “Important challenges remain to secure decent employment for large groups of labour market participants”.

Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, Director of ILO Office in Viet Nam underlined: “Employment and labour market policies that promote opportunities for women and men, and particularly young people, to obtain decent work must be supported by timely and accurate data.” She also said: “This initial Viet Nam Employment Trends report, based primarily on data from MoLISA labour force surveys, represents the first concrete example of the direct assistance that is being provided to MoLISA by the ILO in the area of labour market analysis.”

Mr Willy Vandenberghe, Head of Co-operation at the Delegation of the European Union to Viet Nam said: “The Vietnam Employment Report is very timely as the labour market is undergoing major transition and facing important challenges and opportunities in view of Viet Nam reaching middle Income status”.

Findings from the report:
Looking at the employed population, several important trends have been detected. Viet Nam is still very much a rural country, despite having several large cities. Thus, agriculture remains the most important economic sector, though its proportion of total employment did recede by about 13 percentage points between 1997 and 2007, to about 52 per cent of total employment. This also implies that there has been growth in the industrial sectors of the country, with percentage gains in manufacturing, construction, and much of the services sector.

However, the rural nature of the country and the still heavy dependence upon agriculture means that a very large proportion of total employment is in two categories of the indicator of status in employment, namely own-account and unpaid family work. Taken together, somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of total employment in 2007 was in these two categories, which translates into a very high degree of total employment that is vulnerable, that is, at risk of lacking decent work.

The lack of productive employment is reflected in the large numbers of manual employees, which totaled 28.1 million persons in 2007, or 62 per cent of total employment. Only one other group accounted for more than 10 per cent of the total employed, that being skilled craft occupations, with 12.5 per cent.

As mentioned throughout the report, there are currently many gaps in data availability that hamper timely and up-to-date data labour market information and analysis in Viet Nam. Reliable statistical information for meaningful labour market information and analysis is vital to the government to review and renew existing labour market polices and programmes, to promote the decent work agenda and overcome decent work deficits and to set targets and measure progress made in the different dimensions. Nevertheless, this issue has been fully recognized, and there are currently major attempts ongoing to improve data collection and fill data gaps that will allow more meaningful and in-depth labour market information and analysis for further Viet Nam Employment Trends reports in the future.

For further information please contact:

Ms Le Thi Huong Lien
Communication Officer
ILO Office in Viet Nam
Tel: +84-4-37340902 Ext. 206