Vietnam facing skilled IT labour shortage

Vietnamese IT firms are working against time to tackle a looming shortage of skilled IT personnel, with many firms kick-starting their owntraining courses to plug the growing employment gap.

Local information technology firms are working against time to tackle a looming shortage of skilled IT personnel, with many firms kick-starting their own training courses to plug the growing employment gap.

HANOI (Asia Pulse) – Demand for skilled IT staff is soaring, but most Vietnamese university and college graduates lack the skills and expertise required by the local IT industry.

The government has already acknowledged that raising the number of skilled IT workers is vital to developing this linchpin economic sector.

But many IT firms - particularly those located in Quang Trung Software Park - are now taking matters into their own hands, placing renewed emphasis on training software programrs and security specialists.

The director of Tinh Hoa High-Tech and Fine Art Joint Stock Company, Vu Luong, said his firm had launched an in-house training course on IT software programming.

He said his firm was hoping to meet its own personnel requirements while also training software experts for other domestic and international players.

Luong said Tinh Hoa Co. needed an extra 640 programrs, and many other companies were looking at similar shortfalls. The company has invested heavily in training IT specialists, with an emphasis on the Movie Magic program and educational films, for which demand is steadily increasing in the local market.

Two levels of training - basic and advanced programming - are being offered. The course fees are VND8 million and VND12 million a year, respectively.

The other class of experts for which demand is rapidly outstripping supply is security specialists.

As Vietnam embraces e-mail, chat rooms, e-commerce and online banking, consumers are increasingly focusing on security and privacy issues.

Human resources consultants report surging demand for security specialists among joint venture and wholly foreign-invested companies in Vietnam.

They say the dearth of local talent is forcing these companies to recruit foreign employees to fill these positions.

To meet the growing demand, Vietnam Software Co Ltd. has opened a training course on IT security programming, with training courses ranging from basic to professional.

The average monthly income of each security specialist is about US$300 in Vietnam, and $70,000 a year in Europe and the US. An advanced security consultant can be paid as much as $100,000-140,000 per year.

The average salary for an ordinary IT programmer is VND1.2-3 million per month, rising to VND5-10 million for an advanced programmer.

IT firms now train graduates from other disciplines, and plan to give in-depth training to IT engineers.

Huong Sen Software Joint Stock Company is one such case. It specialises in Internet services, processing software components and wire service management.

The company also works as a broker to recruit and train employees for its foreign partners including the US and Canada. Admission to its training courses is highly competitive: the company has only enrolled 10 people from the 200 applications it has received so far.