Ho Chi Minh City, 18th December 2018 – Navigos Group, the leading company in Vietnam’s recruitment industry, operator of job portal VietnamWorks and executive search firm Navigos Search, proudly announces the report on “Fresh Graduates At The Beginning of Their Professional Careers: Opportunities and Challenges”. Our survey was conducted in October 2018, sampling over 1,600 participants who are fresh graduates with less than 2-year working experience in the labor market.

A gap is present between school-taught knowledge and practical work

61% of respondents point out a noticeable gap between what they learn at school and what is applied in real-life work, which 32% overcome on their own and 29% go through training at work. For the rest 39%, a negligible discrepancy does not heavily affect their transition from schools to workplaces.

A lack of career orientation is the biggest obstacle in finding jobs

38% of participants reveal their biggest challenge in finding employment is “unclear career orientation”. Both external factors such as low payment (36%), job availability (33%) and internal factors including job-search ability contribute to the difficulty in finding jobs for youngsters.

In response, fresh graduates do not hesitate to demand schools to take a more active role and provide guidance. Over 60% find “workshops with guest speakers” and “internship programs through partnering with businesses” helpful in providing career orientation.

Income and welfare is prioritized by fresh graduates when choosing their first jobs

The top criteria when choosing jobs for fresh graduates are reported to be “income and welfare policies” (70%), followed by “compatibility with one’s strengths” (55%). With the availability of choices, young jobseekers now show strong interest in their long-term career prospects and learning opportunities at work, chosen by over 50% each. These are also important factors that affect their decisions when changing jobs.

Fresh graduates with language abilities have higher-paying jobs

Between 5 and 7 million VND is the most common range for monthly salary, as selected by 34% of respondents. 29% say their salaries are between 7 and 10 million.

With regards to language proficiency, more than 60% of jobs require knowing a foreign language to a certain extent (31% need basic communication, 22% require reading comprehension, and 13% need fluency in four skills). Over 30% of young employees report their jobs do not require language abilities.  While up to 95% of this group earn below 10 million VND, 37% of those who have working proficiency in a foreign language have a salary range above 10 million. It is clear that language abilities remain a strength and payroll booster for young jobseekers.

Young employees are not satisfied with the compensation, incentives and promotion opportunities at their current jobs

On a scale of 5, young candidates score the highest satisfaction level with the current jobs in learning opportunities (average score 3.41), company’s reputation (3.35) and corporate culture (3.31). Conversely, the majority are dissatisfied salary (2.95) and long-term career prospects (2.88). The two factors are heavy contributors to a decision to change job, with 54% choosing “low compensation and benefits” and 47% choosing “no opportunity for promotion”. Notably, “incompatible corporate culture” also falls within the top reasons for changing job, as selected by nearly a quarter of all participants.

Young jobseekers disagree that “the reason for jumping jobs is to have higher earnings”

Young employees are observed to change jobs more frequently, posing a retention challenge for employers. When asked about their opinion on this phenomenon, termed as “jumping jobs”, 81% agree that “leaving early prevents them from wasting time on unsuitable or unsatisfactory positions”. Over 40% claim this helps them “gain a diverse working experience and expand networks”. Interestingly, though young candidates value high salaries and benefit packages when choosing jobs, up to 57% disagree that “jumping jobs is to earn more”. The answers also suggest it is debatable whether “jumping jobs” shows a lack of commitment of youngsters to their employers.  

Future career orientation from the perspective of fresh graduates

When asked about their plans in 5 years, most fresh graduates aim to develop their careers either through promotion (29%) or taking on various jobs before committing to one position (26%). The survey also highlights a lack of interest in pursuing a post-graduate degree, as selected by only 9% of all respondents.

Regarding their participation in start-ups, more than half have never started their own business, but plan to do so in the future. 24% have attempted to start-up at least once while the rest have no intention.

In addition, young people are gradually becoming more aware of the impact of the fourth Industrial Revolution, marked by 46% reporting their interest and preparation for its disruption in the labor market. However, more than half still report little to no interest and give neutral opinions.

Suggestions from Mr. Gaku Echizenya, CEO of Navigos Group Vietnam: “In order to sustainably transform the young into the core workforce of Vietnamese manpower, businesses need to cultivate a thorough employee journey starting from pre-recruitment, recruitment to on-boarding and probation. What’s characteristic of fresh graduates is that they are in critical need for training and navigation to build their career roadmaps. Throughout an employee journey, factors such as employer brand, welfare policies, direct supervision, training programs, and career roadmaps are of the utmost importance in engaging and retaining young people. Therefore, we strongly suggest employers to pay more attention to the Employee Journey in this transitional period.”