VietNamNet Bridge – Returning to Viet Nam after receiving a master’s degree in a high-tech field, Bui Khanh Chi was looking for a job that would allow her to pursue research.
Although there are a number of state-owned high-tech companies and centres in the country where she could have sought work, Chi, 30, decided to apply for a job elsewhere.
“The salary of several million dong at state-owned companies is not enough for life now,” she said. “And I wouldn’t have the proper conditions to support my research.”
The decision of Chi, like many other young researchers and professionals, has left high-tech parks and centres in the country, especially in major urban centres like HCM City, with a shortage of high-quality employees.
Duong Hoa Xo, director of HCM City’s High-Tech Park, admitted that the industry faced a serious shortage of professional staff.
Xo’s company, for example, needs 300-400 professionals, and of that number, half need to have either a master’s or doctor’s degree.
The situation is the same at HCM City’s Agriculture High-Tech Park. According to its management board, the park has faced a staff shortage for the last three years.
Young qualified professionals seek jobs at the park only when they cannot find a position elsewhere.
Over the past three years, the park has seen three employees with doctor’s degrees, seven with master’s degrees and 22 with bachelor’s degrees quit their jobs to move to other companies.
Last year, 22 professionally qualified staff employed at the High-Tech Park quit their jobs.
Although the park has sent many employees to study abroad, many of them have left to take other positions, according to Xo.
Industry insiders say that high-tech centres do not have policies that would attract and retain highly qualified and professional staff.
“I get very frustrated when I have to think about asking for one single dong from the Government every time I start a new study,” Chi said. “This way of working prevents us from doing research.”
Xo agreed that low salaries were also a major obstacle in attracting and retaining professional staff.
Salaries, he said, must be high enough to pay for daily needs. Current salaries are so low that many staff are not encouraged to work.
In addition to better salaries, high-tech centres must create conditions to ensure that staff have good living standards and working conditions that allow sufficient time to pursue research.
Creating opportunities for international co-operation, such as attending conferences and meetings, is needed as well, according to Xo.
Despite these problems, there has been one promising development.
Recently, the HCM City High-Tech Park sent a policy draft to the city’s People’s Committee about ways to attract high-quality staff to the field.
If approved, the policy would give local researchers many advantageous conditions that would help them develop their work and improve their living standards.