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Vietnamese wage earners young, dynamic and mobile: ILO
23
Jul '15
Young and dynamic women and men make up the biggest group among Vietnam's wage workers, who are willing to migrate within the country to find work, shows a new policy brief issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Wage workers are those who hold an employment contract and often have better working conditions and socio-economic status.

Nearly half (47 per cent) are young, between 15 and 24 of age, which “indicates one of the key characteristics of the Vietnamese labour market today”, according to ILO Vietnam Director Gyorgy Sziraczki. A large proportion of young people – many of them are first generation of wage workers – find jobs in the gradually expanding formal economy, especially in the dynamic export-oriented sectors such as garment and electronics.

Approximately 38 per cent of wage workers have migrated internally with the share of women working outside their home province (48 per cent) exceeding that of men (32 per cent).

In terms of marital status, seven in ten wage workers are married, which highlights the importance of family-friendly policies including parental leaves and flexible working arrangements to attract and retain the pool of talents.

Over 75 per cent of wage workers have been with their current employers for less than 10 years. This partly reflects the young age of workers and the current labour market reality.

“This labour market reality needs to be taken into account in the future development of social protection policies and in the reform of the labour law and industrial relations system,” said the ILO Vietnam director.

The ILO estimated that wage employees will total 25 million, or 44 per cent of all workers by 2025, in comparison to the current 18.2 million, or 35 per cent of total employment as pointed out by the 2013 Vietnam labour force survey. This already represents an expansion from 13.5 million, or 29 per cent of all workers, in 2005.

The manufacturing sector accounts for the most wage employees in Vietnam (29 per cent, or 5.2 million workers). Construction ranks second with 16 per cent, followed by agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Many wage workers have relatively low education background as about half of them have only completed lower secondary schools or less. Meanwhile, 18 per cent of wage employees have at least started university.

Approximately half of wage workers are in medium-skill occupation while about one fourth are in high-skill jobs.

In addition to increasing the education and skill level of its workforce, this also underlines the need for Vietnam to use innovative employment and industrial policies and policies to encourage high-value added sectors, which will help the country avoid the middle income trap, the ILO said.

More females in wage employment tend to work in high-skill jobs than their male counterparts – one in three women in contrast to one in five men.

A notable gender imbalance also exists in different sectors. While women are overrepresented in particular industries such as garment manufacturing, far more men are found in wage employment in construction, fishing and agriculture. (SH)

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