Vietnam Labor Market Update in Quarter 2/2021

Press Release, HR Insight

The recruitment landscape in Q2/2021

Despite the 4th wave of COVID-19, recruitment activities in Q2/2021 maintain relatively stable compared to last year. Ms. Ha Nguyen, Director, Adecco Hanoi Office, shared, "Learning from last year's experience, businesses are no longer passively respond to the pandemic. Now they have the pandemic response and business continuity plans in hand, which allow them to minimize COVID-19 disruptions to their operations, including recruitment practice. Most businesses quickly switch to virtual hiring practices after the government decrees on the prevention of COVID-19."

In terms of hiring, the majority is still ongoing as planned with only 10% being put on hold, according to Mr. Chuong Nguyen, Associate Director, Recruitment Business, Adecco HCMC Office. Those pending placements are senior management roles such as C-level or technical-focused roles, which require a site visit or face-to-face interview before making an informed hiring decision.

Additionally, there are also positive signs in the number of new jobs. Data from Adecco proved an increase of up to 60% in Q2 this year versus the same period last year. Except for Food & Beverage, Transportation, and Tourism sectors, other sectors show a rise in openings.

As a result of the rapid digital adoption driven by COVID-19, technology-related sectors such as E-commerce and Fin-tech are still in high hiring demand. Also, despite the complicated spread of COVID-19 in some industrial zones, the manufacturing industry (I.e. engineering, electronics, mechanics, and chemical) is still actively hiring. Indeed, for the first 6 months of 2021, GSO reported an increase of 8.91% YoY for the index of industrial production, of which the manufacturing industry increased by 11.42%. Other in-demand sectors are Financial Services and Sourcing Liaison Offices.

Ms. Thanh Le, Director, Adecco HCMC Office, emphasized a new trend. “Companies now prefer experienced and highly specialized candidates as they can take on the job promptly, instead of recruiting and training entry-level roles. They are looking for key positions that can help sustain their businesses in the current ever-changing market.

The challenges are real

“As businesses focus on recruiting highly specialized positions, employment opportunities for young people with fewer years of experience become more limited than before.”, Ms. Thanh Le continued, “Young professionals have less chance to expand their scope or test out new ideas at businesses that are hard-hit by the outbreaks and now in “maintenance” stage.

Though considered a radical alternative in the time of social distancing, online recruitment still has certain drawbacks. According to Ms. Hoa Dang, Associate Director, Recruitment Business, Adecco HCMC Office, virtual interviews make it more challenging for employers to observe the body language and how candidates react to the working environment and culture.

"The engagement level in virtual onboarding is also a concern”, she added, “Without the human connection and the very first warm face-to-face interactions, it's hard for new hires to set the right tone for work and get a feel for what it's like to work in the company.”

Candidates also share concerns about this hiring method. Mr. Chuong Nguyen noted: “Being on-site is optimal for a candidate to gauge a sense of the potential employer. That is why online interview rounds may not be sufficient to evaluate the work culture and future career path.

Plus, not everyone is comfortable being on-camera. Some might feel awkward, leading to a lack of confidence and mistaken judgment from the interviewers. Technology infrastructure is also an unpredictable factor that can affect the quality of the interview. It is impossible to know when the Internet connection will drop, or equipment glitches will occur.

Suggestions for a seamless experience

To attract and keep candidates engaged in the virtual recruitment process, Mr. Andree Mangels, General Director, Adecco Vietnam, emphasized the importance of social media presence.

It's not just the top talent that needs to sell themselves. Businesses also need to find ways to attract top talent. By regularly sharing about real life at the company, your hiring stages, values, and working culture, you offer candidates a more holistic and realistic idea of your workplace. This forms a bond between you and the candidate even before applying, which helps you stand out, secure the prospective candidates, and improves the candidate pool.”

Ms. Ha Nguyen suggested that, besides candidate assessments, employers should conduct a thorough reference check. “The primary purpose is to shed light on the candidate's interpersonal skills, commitment to work, personality, and attitudes. This provides an additional assessment basis for the employer beyond what is shown through the interview screen.

Rather than the traditional one-on-one interviews, employers can consider panel interviews that involve two or more interviewers. As Ms. Hoa Dang shared, “You can accidentally miss the red flags when you are busy taking notes while observing candidates’ body language through a small laptop frame. Therefore, having stakeholders involved in the online interview can help give a broader perspective, also shorten the process."

Regarding the virtual onboarding practice, employers should make sure the new hires receive all the essential equipment and tools. Along with a sequence of the formal session, the team can hold diverse bonding activities such as virtual tea breaks or morning coffee. Then people can learn about each other on a personal level.

On the candidate side, both Chuong Nguyen and Hoa Dang agreed that candidates should be as prepared as possible.

At the most basic, candidates need to pre-check their equipment, software, lighting, and background. They can have a rehearsal interview with a friend or recruiter (if applying through a recruitment agency) to familiarize themselves with the key features and be more relaxed in front of the camera.

Turn off any notifications that can cause distractions before the interview. Maintain eye contact during the interview by looking at the camera, not the screen. At the end of the interview, keep the professional expressions for a few seconds after clicking on the end meeting button. Candidates need to ensure that they are completely disconnected so that they will not show any inappropriate looks by chance.

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