Challenging but positive prospects for HR market in 2019

Mr. Adrien Bizouard, Country Manager of Robert Walters Vietnam, tells VET about the demand for senior employees and its efforts to bring Vietnamese talent home from overseas.

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At the beginning of the year there were two specific industries that were slightly slower than the previous year: healthcare and pharmaceuticals. In the second half of this year, everything beefed up again, due to the increasing need to recruit more people, especially senior and mid-level managers. The number of middle managers remains a major challenge. All organizations are looking for people with the ability to take the lead in the next couple of years and all are struggling to get succession planning well placed.

According to the Salary Survey 2019 from Robert Walters, Vietnam has been facing a challenge in IT talent. What are the reasons for this and what recommendations would you make in the context of Vietnam rising to be a regional tech hub?

IT is facing what other industries were facing a couple of years ago: huge amounts of investment and new entrants into the market. However, the supply of talent is not yet ready. Local education in IT is not good enough given the expectations of multinational companies.

There is a lack of talent in segments of IT such as engineers and medium to senior developers. The good news is, we still manage to find them. Some other talent challenges for IT are UI and UX product managers or all data-related positions, because there is major investment in Big Data but talent is very limited.

Our recommendation to resolve shortages in IT talent is to send current staff on training sessions to learn the skills necessary. This could be technical training, management training, management trainee programs, or creating specific technical universities. Another solution is to recruit talent from overseas. We see there are quality foreigners working in the field of IT in Vietnam at the moment and more returning Vietnamese talent as well. That’s one of the reasons why we started the campaign “Come Home Pho Good”. This initiative is generating a lot of interest among Vietnamese IT professionals who are currently based abroad but wish to come back to Vietnam to work.

In the context of talent shortages, talented employees are likely to require competitive remuneration packages that might exceed their expertise or the company’s budget. How would you suggest HR managers deal with such situations?

Undoubtedly, companies nowadays are willing to offer a competitive salary range to recruit top talent with expertise and experience that match their expectations. However, apparently not all employees are aware of how they can contribute to an organization and whether their contributions are really worth their expected salary. And for those who return to work in Vietnam after years of residing overseas, considering the standards of living and market rates, it’s almost impossible for them to make a fair comparison to what they used to be paid for working abroad.

To secure top talent, companies should look at optimizing the recruitment process. This involves ensuring it is kept short so that candidates remain engaged, and it’s of much importance to communicate clear expectations and job descriptions right from the outset.

In addition, even though salary is indicated as one of the top motivators for employees, it does not reflect the whole picture of the final decision of talent. There are many other aspects that companies can offer in the package, for example a flexible working environment and exciting opportunities for up-skilling and development. Flexibility in particular is one of the current keywords for successfully attracting and retaining talent.

Besides salary, what other HR-related topics are now drawing the attention of multinational companies?

We are in the process of welcoming a new generation into the workforce, as more millennials, from middle to senior positions, take on more responsibility to lead organizations to greater growth. It’s critical for HR managers or HR Heads to understand and juggle the needs of the next-generation workforce with those of the current generation. In the meantime, millennials are considered very confident but short-term oriented, with low engagement, while always seeking freedom at work. How to manage them effectively and balance the need of this generation with that of other staff will matter a lot.

One of our clients with experience in managing a leading tech startup where the majority of staff were born in the 1990s said that it was critical to make them understand that freedom came with a price: responsibilities and contributions. From our point of view, a positive outlook on recruitment and human resources management has been noted as companies are likely to expand their attention into more diverse angles of recruitment in general.

“Come Home Pho Good” has proven to be effective since its launch in 2016. How many people has Robert Walters successfully brought back from overseas to Vietnam? How will it enhance the campaign next year?

Understanding the local market and being trend-savvy, Robert Walters succeeds in Vietnam as the only recruiting company that makes the effort to bring overseas Vietnamese talent home to work.

Thirty-one people have come home since we started the campaign in May 2016. The first six months of the campaign was dedicated to planning and the warm-up phase got everything in place, like marketing and resourcing. These 31 people came back in 2017 and 2018, so it’s closer to one and a half years.

We are going to use more and more client testimonials to share their experiences and benefits. We are investing in social media as well to reach out further. We have more partnerships with alumni as well from communities and universities. We are going to create events around people who are ready to return and share their experiences. The key is to really understand why people come back and what their motivations are. As soon as we make this right, we will be able to identify the best people to come back and facilitate all of the process within the organization.

VN Economic Times

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