To keep up with rapid technological changes, employers must prepare their workforce to adapt. World Bank data in Vietnam revealed that if the pool of skilled workers fails to embrace digital transformation, the country could lose two million jobs by 2045.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for digital solutions in the workplace. And leveraging new technologies to improve our current processes helps us work faster and more efficiently.
The problem is we live in a time where digital technologies hold the key to reshaping the future success of many industries, from business management to customer experiences. And with Facebook confirming they plan to cut over 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce, to scale back expenses and “transform its business in a more competitive digital advertising market,” is a real wake-up call for the rest of us to get on board the digital transformation train.
Nguyen Thi Nga, a representative of the World Bank on employment, spoke at a conference jointly held by ManpowerGroup Vietnam and the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on Tuesday in Hanoi that digital skills cover the range of skills, abilities, knowledge and work habits that allow people to access and use digital technologies.
Nga emphasized that it is an essential requirement for workers in the context of constantly changing work patterns and nature.
Nguyen Xuan, Son, country operations manager for Staffing & Outsourcing services at ManpowerGroup Vietnam, said at the same workshop that “major trends like the growing importance of contingent workers, companies’ efforts to rebuild employee capabilities via skill development programs, and the rising of a hybrid work model in the new normal will take place in the coming time.”
At the workshop entitled “Labor Market Trends in The Digital Age,” Nguyen Ba Hoan, deputy minister of MOLISA, said that employment security and skills development for workers amid the digital transformation are among the important goals for every country.
While digital transformation provides higher-quality products or services, enhances customer service and the user experience, reduces waste, and at the same time improves productivity, Vietnam only has 11.6% of highly skilled workers. Regarding skills, Vietnam is considered less competitive than its neighboring countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
According to Hoan, the increasing application of digital technology, smart devices, and robotics in production and business activities poses challenges to a low-skilled labor market such as Vietnam.
“An abundant, low-cost workforce will no longer be a competitive advantage in attracting foreign investment,” he said. “Given this context, comprehensive solutions will be required to improve the quality of recruitment and training of human resources for a future-proof workforce.”
Andree Mangels, general manager of ManpowerGroup Vietnam, agrees that technology is constantly evolving and that employers need an agile approach to employee skilling and creating long-term learning strategies that equip their staff to do jobs that exist now and those that will be created in the future.
Whether or not digital transformation will eliminate jobs, the challenge in Vietnam would be — where to begin? Especially when data shows that 68% of current jobs require digital literacy with basic digital skills, while one-fifth need particularly intensive digital skills.