Ha Noi, 23 June 2010 - Viet Nam has weathered the global economic crisis, but in order to sustain the recovery it should now focus medium-term policy directives towards inclusive development to fully utilize its dynamic and growing labour force, according to an ILO supported report on labour and social trends.
Viet Nam’s labour force is projected to increase by 1.5 per cent (or 738 thousand) annually from 2010 to 2015, according to the report conducted by Viet Nam's Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA).
Among its conclusions, the report recommends that the Government, in partnership with workers and employers, prioritize measures that will boost the country’s competitiveness, including strengthening labour market institutions, investing in human resource development, promoting job quality and expanding the social protection system.
The report “Labour and Social Trends in Viet Nam 2009/10” notes that Viet Nam’s remarkable economic growth since 2000 has coincided with rapid structural transformation. Agricultural employment decreased from 65.3 per cent in 2000 to 52.2 per cent in 2007 as workers moved into industry and services. While this transition to higher productivity sectors helped to boost total labour productivity by 5.1 per cent annually, overall productivity remained extremely low and is only three-fifths the ASEAN average or around one-tenth the level in Singapore.
In addition, poverty has fallen dramatically over the past decade, but other social concerns are looming, such as rising industrial disputes and limited social protection measures that generally do not cover the massive informal sector.
“Over the past decade, market reforms and enhanced global integration have contributed significantly to Viet Nam’s remarkable achievements in development and poverty reduction. Nonetheless, numerous labour market and social challenges remain and the collaboration of MOLISA and the ILO on this study help to highlight the areas where concerted action to support especially vulnerable groups access economic and social opportunities is needed,” said Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, Director of the ILO Office in Hanoi.
Viet Nam’s employed workforce of nearly 46 million in 2007 has been critical for the country’s economic prosperity and the expansion of the industrial sector, which now engages nearly one in five workers. However, nearly three-quarters of all workers are in vulnerable employment where wages and working conditions are often poor and social and legal protection is limited. A majority of the labour force has received no technical training, which further constrains the country’s development prospects.
“As Viet Nam prepares its Socio-Economic Development Plan for the coming 5-year period, the important issues at the centre of the Government’s attention are investment and development policies, especially strengthening the knowledge and skills for the workforce, thus contributing to the improvement of the human resources quality,” said Dam Huu Dac, Standing Vice-Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Among the various policy recommendations, the report calls for strengthening the legal and policy framework, enhancing social dialogue, raising productivity in small- and medium-sized enterprises and providing greater support for rural households and the most vulnerable workers who have not benefited from Viet Nam’s economic rise.
For further information please contact:
Ms Le Thi Huong Lien
ILO Office in Viet Nam
Tel: 37340902 ext 206