"Most overseas Vietnamese professionals keen to return home"

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016 10:00

Gerrit Bouckaert, country manager for Robert Walters Thailand and Viet Nam. — VNS Photo
A trend has been highlighted in a recent study conducted and released by global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.
The study, titled "Return of the Asian Talent," polled 650 job seekers and hiring managers across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. 

Notably, 86 percent of the hiring managers polled in Southeast Asia see the hiring of Asians working overseas as a viable option to address the recruitment challenges in their country.

Vietnam News spoke to Gerrit Bouckaert, country manager for Robert Walters Thailand and Viet Nam about the trend and how Vietnamese companies can tap into it.

The findings show that 70% of overseas Vietnamese professionals are keen to return home to work. What are the implications for Vietnamese companies who are looking to recruit top talent?

Outbound mobility in Viet Nam has increased significantly over the past decade and many companies in Viet Nam face a severe shortage of skilled local talent. Local businesses in Viet Nam are now very keen to hire skilled Vietnamese professionals who have gained international experience but understand the local culture and language better than any expatriate. This will enable organisations to develop high-potential local talent and prepare them to take on middle-management and senior positions 

Why do you think accounting and finance, banking and financial services and information technology are the top three main sectors to attract overseas Vietnamese professionals? 

The functional expertise of these three domains requires a technical knowledge that can be transferred across international borders. A software developer in Viet Nam can do the same job in the United States or Europe as they use the same programming language across the world, while the technical knowledge in finance can be acquired as international standards in accounting and finance are only slightly different in other countries. 

Most of the Vietnamese candidates who have found a job in another country have studied in that country and have been campus hires by large companies operating in that market. Alternatively, talented individuals who were working in Viet Nam, can also get the opportunity to rotate internationally through a mobility programme in their country. This is beneficial both to the employee in terms of broadening the skill set and cultural understanding and the employer in terms of employee engagement and internal development. 

Do you think the trend in Viet Nam is in line with other Southeast Asian markets? What are the similarities and major differences?

It seems to be in line with the other countries in Southeast Asia. The top three reasons why overseas Asians will consider returning home are to care for ageing parents, the perceived ability to command higher pay after working overseas and an affinity with their culture back home. As a result, the top three factors they look for in an employment package are a salary increment over local rates, clear career progression and flexible working arrangements. Attracting overseas Asian professionals to return home has emerged as a viable alternative for regional firms looking to overcome the shortage of talent. 

Local businesses in Viet Nam might be keen to hire skilled Vietnamese professionals who have gained international experience and at the same time understand the local culture and language better. However, this also could lead to potential conflict as overseas Vietnamese expect a better package? What are your thoughts on this?

As there is higher demand for talent in Viet Nam compared with the supply of candidates, companies are looking outside the borders to attract overseas talent. This talent pool needs to be given incentives to return to Viet Nam by offering holistic employment packages and benefits. The remuneration package depends on what the candidate can bring to the table and what value they can add in the short term and the long term. The opportunity cost of not having a crucial position filled in a company outweighs the cost of the remuneration package in most cases, so companies are open to offering additional benefits to ensure they have the right talent on board.

Can you tell us more about Robert Walters' outreach programme called "Come Home Phở Good"?

Come Home Phở Good was officially launched earlier this year, but the outreach efforts started last year. The objective of this programme is to target overseas Vietnamese professionals by sharing market research, insights and updates on the job market in Viet Nam. With an increasing demand for local talent, Robert Walters Vietnam is also leveraging our international network of offices to attract Vietnamese professionals from outside the country who are potentially interested in a move back home. VNS


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