Last update 2/8/2011 4:48:00 PM (GMT+7)

Why I quit?

VietNamNet Bridge – Low salary is not the only thing that urges state employees to quit. If they are just working for money, many excellent officers will not work for state agencies for long periods of time.

In Vietnam, in most cases, only staff of the State Bank of Vietnam join

commercial banks. (photo: the headquarters of the State Bank of Vietnam).

Introduction: A national conference to review the 10 year implementation of the administrative reform program is going to take place in Hanoi. The program is partly successful but many problems have not been solved. State officers’ salary has increased but they cannot sustain their lives with their current salary. The number of state officers that quit their jobs is high.

A doctor of economics, the chief of a department at a ministerial-level agency, decided to quit his job after 17 years. He talked with VietNamNet about concerns and also hopes that the policy for state officers will be improved in the near future.

VietNamNet would like to introduce his confidence.

Transfer mechanism?

When people just become state officers, they are very eager and have high hopes for having chances to bring into full play their capabilities and talents and to be involved in social management. But after 2-5 years, there is division among them.

Those who are looking to succeed in life will take any opportunity to study to improve their qualifications. These people don’t care about building relations to entreat favors of anyone.

Others think that if they work hard then they are not rewarded. If they work modestly, then there is no problem. The more they work, then the more mistakes they can make. These people are content with their lot. They just work half-heartedly and wait for their salary to be raised after every three years.

State officers who are fond of studies place high hopes on overseas training courses, where they can improve their specialized knowledge and working style. However, most of them bid farewell to their state agencies to seek better jobs with higher income. Some argue that working for state or private sectors also shows devotion to the country.

However, such officers often don’t receive social sympathy. They are sometimes called “traitors” because they studied overseas with state funding and upon returning home, they leave the state sector to seek better jobs for themselves.

My total income at the State Bank of Vietnam is VND10 million ($500) a month. With the new job, my income is several times higher.

To solve this issue, a similar mechanism known as the “football player transfer mechanism” should be applied. It is very simple here: if one agency pays for the training of an employee. If another agency wants to employ him, it has to pay training fees to the first agency.

With this policy, state officers will not have to work “illegally”. It can also help create a healthy competitive environment in the labor market. Actually, administrative measures are useless to prevent state officers from seeking better jobs.

In Vietnam, only state officers quit their jobs to seek new ones, people from other sectors rarely join state agencies. This can be explained by different reasons such as poor treatment policies, poor working environments, and problems in using talented people at state agencies.

To develop a qualified contingent of state officers, why don’t we think of attracting excellent people from the private sector to state agencies?

In many countries, good employees of commercial banks join central banks. They are very proud to work for such important agencies and they enjoy worthwhile treatment policies. Their knowledge and experience from their time at commercial banks is extremely useful for creating policies at the central banks.

In Vietnam, in most cases, only staff of the State Bank of Vietnam join commercial banks. This is one of the reasons that many newly-issued policies have to be amended because policy-makers lack experience.

This phenomenon, common in many state agencies, results in the fact that the workforce at state agencies is redundant but state agencies still lack employees who work effectively. It is so popular that at some state agencies there are officers who are very busy and those who have nothing to do. Many officers think that if they work enthusiastically, their income will not increase. Moreover, working hard is not a good way to earning a promotion. Therefore, they only work half-heartedly.

As time goes by, state officers become inert in comparison with those of the same ages who work in the private sector.

Annually, the state spends a huge amount of money to pay salaries for state officers. Because the pie is shared between so many people, state officers complain of low salary. If leisurely people are dismissed from their government offices, salary of state officers will surely increase and they will have motivation to work effectively. The waste of resources will not be a problem because the officers who are dismissed will have to seek suitable jobs to be productive in society.

To thoroughly conduct administrative reform, we need to have a revolution with state officers. If the personnel issue is not solved and if there is no healthy competition at state agencies, the salary for state officers will be never solved.

When their salary is equivalent to their effort, state officers will do their job wholeheartedly. Moreover, the pride in being a state officer and the removal of the burden to find other means of subsistence will contribute to curb corruption and harassment.

Using talents

State officers can be divided into several groups: Aged people, who don’t have little opportunity of being promoted and cannot seek new jobs so they are content with their lot to wait for retirement; those who are unqualified but have good relations with or are relatives of officials and are ambitious to be promoted; those who don’t need money but need an official position to do their own business; and qualified people who are crave for confirming themselves and contributing to the country. Sadly, the last group is reducing in number.

If we make statistics, we will see a paradox: qualified officers who are longing for dedication can’t advance at state agencies. It is understandable because these people are very self-respecting so they don’t entertain favors for anyone. Moreover, they are outspoken people who dare to defend their opinions so they often do not win the popularity of their superiors. Many people who reach important positions in state agencies don’t have appropriate knowledge and qualifications. How can they advance in their career? Everyone knows how.

Low salary is not the only thing that urges state employees to quit. If they work only for money, many excellent officers will not work for state agencies for dozens of years.

Each group of state officers has different aims and motivations so leaders need to treat them appropriately to encourage them to work most effectively. But not many managers understand that. Once unqualified officers are used, qualified officers will be discouraged and they will consider leaving.

When qualified officers quit job because of low salary, it is sad but if they quit their job because they don’t have opportunity to demonstrate their abilities, it is alarming situation!

Noted by Thuy Chung