As Vietnam is staging its post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery, the country has a rare opportunity to create more jobs and a better working environment, improve productivity and improve labor skills in the electronic supply chain.
To find the right solutions for the sustainable development of this spearhead industry, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Labor Organization the International Labor Organization (ILO) recently organized the electronics industry forum “Decent Work and the Future of Vietnam Electronics Supply Chains”. Participating in the event were representatives of Government agencies and industry partners.
Vietnam has recorded a year-on-year increase in the export value of electronic goods, now accounting for one-third of the country's total export value. As one of the world's largest exporters of electronics, Vietnam bagged more than US$108 billion in the industry's export value in 2021 with an estimated workforce of over one million.
However, the electronics industry mainly focuses on low-value-added and labor-intensive outsourcing and assembly activities.
Speaking at the forum, Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, Vice President of VCCI, said, “One of the biggest difficulties that businesses are facing is the great fluctuations in labor, including the labor decline and shortage, attracting workers back to work and creating satisfactory jobs.”
Preliminary results of the latest enterprise survey conducted by the VCCI with the support of the ILO show that around 60% of enterprises surveyed consider the shortage of skilled workers to be a challenge from the moderate to severe level in the electronics sector. About 50% also consider the professional skills of supervisors and managers a big challenge.
In that context, ensuring an engaged workforce, stable productivity and sustainable development of manufacturing enterprises need to be considered a top priority.
“At the same time, attention should be paid to decent work so that it can increase the sustainable competitiveness of the electronics industry in the global market and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country,” Ms. Ingrid Christensen, Director of the ILO Vietnam Office, commented.
This is also in line with the ILO's Global Call to Action for People-Centered Recovery, which focuses on four interrelated pillars of inclusive growth and employment, worker protection, universal social security and social dialogues.
The leader of the ILO Vietnam Office also added, “Vietnam can sustainably develop the electronics industry through rational investment in improving decent working conditions, including promoting social dialogue as well as participating in programs to increase compliance with the law in the workplace.”
E-businesses have developed a mutual aid channel to practice effective social dialogues at all levels, thereby helping to improve productivity and working conditions. This good practice is expected to spread to other key export industries of the country.
“Social dialogues will play a key role in ensuring sustainable supply chains,” said Giorgio Aliberti, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam.
“Decent employment needs to be promoted for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient electronics industry in Vietnam,” he said. At the same time, he emphasized that investors, consumers and legislators around the world are increasingly placing higher demands on the task of promoting decent work in global supply chains.
Through projects with financial support from the European Union and other donors, the ILO is currently working closely with the VCCI to jointly support industry partners to address employment shortages and develop global supply chains in the electronics industry in Vietnam.