Challenges in recruiting and retaining managers
Navigos Search, a leading company in recruitment services provider in Vietnam published a regional report on “Challenges in recruiting and retaining mid-level and senior employees for foreign firms in Vietnam”. This Vietnam report is part of a series of comparative surveys in Japan, Singapore and Thailand which were conducted by en world (that Navigos Search is a company member), a group of recruiting consultancies specialising in professional and managerial roles.
Shortage of mid-level candidates in terms of both quantity and quality
41% of respondents to the survey conducted in Vietnam say that they have not been able to attract enough mid-level and senior employees to their firms in the last 12 months. This is a “hard-to-solve problem” not only in Vietnam but also in Thailand and Singapore with 52% and 53% respondents, respectively, saying it is difficult for them to recruit enough talents.
56% of the respondents say that the biggest challenge in retaining managers is fierce competition in terms of salary and benefits from industry peers. Regionally, Thailand (84% respondents) and Singapore (82% respondents) also face the same challenge in retaining managerial candidates.
English proficiency remains a major challenge for managers in Vietnam
For managers in Vietnam, English seems to remain a significant barrier for the management staff. 31% respondents in Vietnam survey consider English is in top 3 most important factors in recruiting management employees while this rate in Singapore is 2% only. There has been a common perception that Japanese possess poor English skills. However, 61% of the companies surveyed in Japan are satisfied with managers’ English skill. The effects of globalization in tasks and resources and cross border M&A also help improve the English skill of employees in Japan. English proficiency remains a major challenge for managers in Vietnam, despite their positive rating in communication skill and learning ability. It is clear that low English proficiency will be a significant barrier for managers in Vietnam when the ASEAN Economic Community takes effect by the end of 2015, which will permit free flow of labour in 8 industries.
Managers in Vietnam have insufficient leadership skill
One of the most important factors in recruiting mid-level and senior managers for foreign companies in Vietnam is the need for leadership skills. However, respondents were the least satisfied with leadership skills of the managers in their firms. Managers in Singapore also received the lowest satisfaction for this skill. While foreign companies in Thailand need candidates with working experience in a similar field, yet statistics show that this factor received the lowest level of satisfaction. Employees in Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand all receive very low satisfaction ratings in loyalty to firm criterion.
Training remains the best solution
All the respondents in the four countries surveyed included leadership and management skills in the training programs for managerial personnel. 78% in Singapore, 74% in Thailand, 60% in Japan, and 48% in Vietnam said that this will be the main area of training for management staff. “Train the trainer” helps make “learning by doing under supervision” a more effective model as 90% respondents in Singapore, 82% in Thailand and 57% in Vietnam claim that this is the prevalent model in their firms. According to the survey data, Singapore is the only country that puts financial support (co-sponsorship) for self-development in the top 3 most popular training models for managers.
The strengths of mid-level personnel in the country surveyed
The surveys show that mid-level and senior personnel in each country have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. While managers in Singapore and Vietnam seem to share the same strength of being hardworking and eager to learn new things, managers in Japan and Thailand are perceived to have very high self-motivation. Managers in Japan, Thailand and Vietnam are highly praised for their communication skills. More specifically, mid-level managers in Singapore are viewed as having good professional skills, logical thinking and integrity. In turn, managers in Thailand have a high sense of responsibility, good professional skills and adaptability. Managers in Japan score very high in terms of technical and managers in Vietnam are willing to assume responsibility and the ability to learn.
Sharing about the survey results collected in Vietnam and in 3 other countries, Nguyen Thi Van Anh, Managing Director of Navigos Search said: “The lack of skilled mid-career and management level talents has been existing in Vietnam for a long while. However, through this survey, we learn that it is not only in Vietnam, it is a regional challenge. We at en world and Navigos Search, make some recommendations to above said challenges that enterprises are facing. It includes programs to establish and promote “an Employer’s Branding” or have “Employee Engagement” initiatives. Human resources solutions should be both short or medium and long term sustainable”.