Vietnam’s Future Jobs: Leveraging Mega-Trends for Greater Prosperity
Vietnam’s 50 million jobs are a cornerstone of its economic success. The transformation toward services and manufacturing, and impressive labor productivity and wage growth led to plunging poverty rates and globally enviable economic growth over the last decades. Employment rates are high and unemployment rates are low by global standards. The jobs challenge is to create more high quality and inclusive jobs. Shiny foreign factories paying above the minimum wage and offering social benefits typify, at best, only 2.1 million jobs. And registered domestic firms provide no more than 6 million jobs. Meanwhile, 38 million Vietnamese jobs are in family farming, household enterprises, or uncontracted labor. These traditional jobs tend to be characterized by low productivity, low profits, meager earnings, and few worker protections. While they have been a path out of poverty, they will not provide the means to reach the middle-class status that Vietnam’s citizens aspire to. Ethnic minorities, women, and unskilled workers cluster in these jobs.