In recent years, Vietnam has become a beacon for foreign investment, drawing in a multitude of multinational corporations. This influx has paved the way for a wealth of career opportunities, subsequently sparking a surge in the demand for high-caliber human resources. This development has left many of Vietnam’s leading economic sectors grappling with the challenge of a high-quality labor shortage.
To address this gap, bringing back Vietnamese talent from abroad is seen as a key solution.
Why target the Vietnamese diaspora?
The demand in burgeoning sectors such as data science, cybersecurity, engineering, artificial intelligence, and automation extends beyond mere technical proficiency. These fields require candidates to be adept in foreign languages, capable of navigating multicultural work environments, and resilient under high pressure.
Vietnamese professionals abroad come with a competitive edge – they bring international work experience, exposure to cutting-edge technologies, critical thinking abilities, and a versatility that makes them well-suited to adapt to new challenges. Their deep-rooted understanding of Vietnamese culture further facilitates their integration into domestic workplaces, setting them apart from their foreign counterparts.
In fact, a recent survey by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters (RW) revealed that 71% of overseas Vietnamese are actively contemplating a return to their homeland within the next five years.
Despite this, a significant number of overseas Vietnamese remain indecisive about returning, weighed down by concerns regarding Vietnam’s developmental prospects.
What prevents Vietnamese diaspora talents from returning home?
Misconceptions about the Vietnamese market
Recruitment specialists from Robert Walters highlight that Vietnamese expatriates, having spent considerable time abroad, might need a deeper understanding of the domestic job market. This knowledge gap can lead to holding onto stereotypes such as a widespread lack of English proficiency among Vietnamese or viewing the local market as underdeveloped and impoverished.
Contrary to these beliefs, English language skills among Vietnamese workers have seen a marked improvement. A significant number of young individuals boast excellent English proficiency from their school years, positioning themselves as pivotal assets to several major companies.
Moreover, the domestic market has witnessed notable advancements bolstered by the government’s commitment to securing numerous free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The gap between salary expectations and reality
The RW report points out that disparities in compensations and benefits stand as the top factor hindering overseas Vietnamese from returning, affecting 55% of those surveyed.
Salaries within Vietnam typically fall below those offered abroad, attributed to the lower cost of living and expenditure. Vietnam’s tax rates are generally more favorable than many other countries, depending on the income levels and respective tax brackets.
Besides, many expatriates envision their international experience, knowledge, and skills will make them highly desirable to employers back home, expecting lucrative salary offers from multinational corporations. Yet, reality often differs, particularly for entry-level and management positions, as well as in sectors like marketing, FMCG, and retail, where the job market is intensely competitive.
The emerging young and dynamic workforce in Vietnam is not only increasingly competent and ambitious but also represents a more cost-effective option for employers.
How can Viet expats navigate careers back home?
Set realistic expectations
If there’s a discrepancy in expected salary, expatriates must reconsider the cost of living and expenses in Vietnam to adjust their expectations accordingly. Alternatively, if a candidate can showcase their value and the potential contributions they can bring, employers might be more inclined to negotiate a better salary package.
Seek professional advice
looking to return can benefit from consulting with esteemed recruitment advisory services for in-depth guidance on their industry and the nuances of the local job market.
These advisory services provide comprehensive support, from the initial stages of consideration while abroad to settling back into the country. They offer insights into working practices, corporate culture, and effective communication techniques to ensure a seamless transition.
Additionally, they serve as vital connectors, presenting candidates with lucrative opportunities, streamlining the job search process, and conserving the job seekers’ time and energy.
An exemplary success story is that of Vi Thanh Tuan, who currently serves as the Head of Supply Chain Planning at Schaeffler Vietnam. As a Vietnamese-German longing for a return to his roots, Tuan engaged with the "Come Home Phở Good" initiative by Robert Walters, which assisted him in securing a role that matched his skills and aspirations in Vietnam.
Participating in expatriate communities like Overseas Vietnamese and expat-focused networking events are invaluable for expatriates.
These platforms allow individuals to connect with peers and industry veterans, broaden their professional networks, and acquire a more defined perspective of Vietnam’s job market, facilitating a more informed and strategic return to the domestic workforce.