International Labour Standards

Viet Nam ratifies ILO Employment Service Convention, ready to make labour market effective

An ILO study with data from the General Statistics Office found that around 40 per cent of employed young people had found their jobs by asking friends and family.

Press release | 29 January 2019
HANOI (ILO News) – Viet Nam has made an important step in labour market development by ratifying ILO Convention 88, known as Employment Service Convention.

Employment services promote an efficient development, integration and use of the labour force. To achieve this objective, they serve two groups of direct clients – workers (which they assist to find suitable employment) and employers (which they assist to find suitable workers).

Employment services are therefore at the intersection of two networks of information – the one on job applicants and the one on job vacancies. They are at the core of the matching between supply and demand for labour.

“As Viet Nam is experiencing its economic transformation, the ratification of this convention which will promote the development of employment services is a significant step,” said Valentina Barcucci, ILO Viet Nam’s Labour Economist. “Industrialization, integration into regional and global markets, and increase foreign direct investment have all been changing the labour market into one where employment opportunities, qualification and skills requirements become more formal. Accordingly, the methods for matching job offers with takers need to become more effective, accessible, and used.”

In a country in transformation like Viet Nam, labour market information is a vital source of data on how the labour market is evolving.

Employment services can produce a large set of labour market information through administrative data coming from the profiles of job seekers, occupations in demand by employers and therefore skills needs, duration of job search by profile of job seeker, hard-to-fill vacancies, and others. These data all help answer questions such as What skills do employers look for? Do job seekers find jobs that match their qualifications? Who needs to look for jobs for relatively longer periods? What skills are missing – and yet needed - on the labour market?

“The answers to these questions represent an important input to policy-makers,” said Barcucci. “These data can be used to periodically revise employment policy and skills development policy, to help workers adapt to labour market changes, and employers find the skills that they need, for a more inclusive society and a stronger economy”.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), the share of job seekers who are using formal channels (employment services) is growing, but it still account for a minority of the job search channels used. Most jobs in Viet Nam today are filled through personal contacts.

A study ran by the ILO with GSO data found that around 40 per cent of employed young people had found their jobs by asking friends and family.

“The higher the educational/training attainment of a job seeker, the more likely she or he is to rely on employment services,” Barcucci explained.

The strengthening of employment services is also important in the context of Viet Nam’s role within ASEAN, which Viet Nam will chair in 2020.

Convention 88 states that one of the objectives of employment services is to facilitate occupational and geographical mobility. In the context of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the chart towards economic and cultural integration, ASEAN envisages increased openness in a number of areas, including the ‘seamless movement’ of skilled labour.

“The ratification of the Convention is a critical step towards strengthening employment services in the country. However, it remains one step of the way,” Barcucci said while reaffirming ILO’s commitment to support the Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations in ensuring that policies and programmes will follow to implement the Convention.

The ILO will also provide continuous assistance on institutional commitments such as formal reporting on the implementation of Convention 88.

The Convention on Employment Service became the 22nd ILO Convention Viet Nam has ratified. By the end of 2019, Viet Nam also plans to ratify Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining – one of the remaining fundamental conventions – and Convention 159 on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons).