Saigon Investment spoke with Mr. TRAN ANH TUAN, Vice President of the Association of Vocational Education in Ho Chi Minh City, to ask his opinion about this issue.
JOURNALIST: - Sir, what do you think about the fact that many young graduates leaving our colleges or universities are now opting to work as Grab motorbike taxi drivers?
Mr. TRAN ANH TUAN: - First of all, it must be said that in the current liberal market scenario, everyone has the right to choose any career, or continue to study and work at the same time. The current labor market has many available jobs, but stable jobs with good income, especially for young graduates, are still limited. Most young graduates have insufficient experience and can only work in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at very low wages. Many majors from universities can only draw a salary of VND five to six million a month, and a more higher engineering job can only offer about VND seven million a month for new graduates. This unattractive wage structure plus a lot of disciplinary pressure from employers turns many new young graduates away. We also need to differentiate between a job and a long-term career plan.
Under these circumstances, the emergence of technology in use of Apps to offer motorcycle taxi services by Grab or Gojeck serve the essential need of the public as well as young graduates from colleges and universities who are seeking to earn quick money. The job of a motorcycle driver requires learning and understanding only a basic technology to be able to be accepted by Grab or Gojeck. This job is increasingly becoming more popular as a driver can choose when to work or when to disconnect from the service, which is dissimilar from other jobs in offices or factories. The flexibility of working hours is very attractive to young graduates who can either relax with their friends whenever they want or do some part time study if they choose to. However, if this method of working becomes the new norm, it will affect society in general in the long run.
The reason is that though young graduates can earn a high income quickly without feeling the pressures of a traditional job, the outcome results are not really very beneficial. Five to ten years down the line, if they continue to work as tech motorbike taxi drivers, they will lose their ability to be hired in any other higher skill jobs, and also they will not see much growth in income. Their health will also take a toll and in the event of any new technology entering the arena they stand to even lose their present job quite suddenly and abruptly. It will be a pity that these young graduates looking to build a bright future will not be able to develop a proper career. We are not against them working as motorbike taxi drivers, but this job is not for people who have spent years studying in colleges and universities. Young graduates must be fully aware of the path they choose and where it will lead them in the long run, and we too should be responsible in guiding them in the right direction.
- Sir, do you think we could lose a significant workforce or have to compete with imported labor if many young graduates and youth continue to follow this unplanned path towards work and jobs?
- The number of young people and also those graduating from colleges and universities, who choose to become motorbike taxi drivers, accounts for a very low percentage compared to the entire young human resource in Vietnam. Young Vietnamese people have many aspirations and ambitions to rise in life. This fact is quite apparent in recent years, and many young people are choosing very specific career paths and mastering various skills to improve their chances in the future. Although their number is still quite low, we cannot disregard this trend but must step up our efforts to educate and propagate more opportunities for them. Young people must discipline early and create a better foundation for the future. Only then will we be able to create a highly disciplined workforce that can withstand pressures of work and take responsibility in many work fields in coming years.
Competition with imported labor is inevitable as we open up more and more to the outside world. Currently, Vietnamese wages are still low, but if we have high wages like Singapore or Japan, our labor will probably face fierce competition from high-skilled foreign labor. At present, most enterprises in our country are SMEs, some even have very small investment, so they are suitable for Vietnamese workers, but in fifteen to twenty years, things will certainly change and quality human resource will be more in demand.
- Sir, right now are many young people working in wrong jobs or are finding it difficult to find suitable jobs because we do not have the appropriate employment policies in place for them?
- It is not altogether incorrect to say that young people are finding it difficult to find suitable jobs, but we must also realise that the State cannot take care of everyone. In my opinion, each individual must find own way to rise up by themselves and not wait for someone to help. Regarding the current quality of human resource not meeting the needs of businesses, it is necessary to point out that education and businesses in the country lack any cohesion.
The training in schools, colleges and universities is theoretical, and enterprises, especially small businesses, do not have long-term strategies for training personnel in affiliate programs in educational centers. There is an opinion that our current career guidance scheme is not doing well, but I don't think so. Our career guidance plan is quite good, and currently colleges and vocational secondary schools are attracting the attention of parents and students alike. For every young person who aspires to study for a better future, it is very commendable.
- Thank you very much.