According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the EVFTA is poised to create an additional 146,000 jobs each year, with the majority focusing on labour-intensive industries that enjoy high export rates to the EU, including garment and textiles, leather and footwear, and aviation transport.
The Multilateral Trade Assistance Project (MUTRAP) believes that aside from increased job opportunities, Vietnamese workers will be granted the chance to play a part in a wider job market and enjoy ways in which to improve their skills.
Despite these benefits, the MUTRAP recommends that the EU enforce stringent requirements based on product quality and production processes, which in itself will impose pressure with regard to labour competition on local enterprises as they seek higher-quality human resources as a means of meeting strict requirements.
Most notably, challenges in terms of high quality and skilled human resources remain a thorny issue for both domestic firms and foreign-invested businesses in the country.
Luu Thi Thu Huyen, CEO of Blue Sea, says the company plans to approach a number of markets within the EU as soon as the novel coronavirus pandemic subsides, noting that the workforce should be carefully chosen to ensure that strict standards set forth by the EU in relation to product quality and human resources are met.
With regard to labour issues, Takeo Nakajima, the Chief Representative of the Japan External Trade Organization Office (JETRO) in Hanoi, says that plenty of Japanese enterprises continue to appreciate the attractive investment environment in Vietnam. At present, up to 54% of Japanese firms are taking advantage of free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by Vietnam.
He notes that Japanese investors are to turn their attentions to areas such as export processing, retail, technology, construction, healthcare, and tourism to take advantage of the market from FTAs, especially the EVFTA, in the near future.
Despite this, Nakajima remains concerned about labour costs and the recruitment of personnel while investing in the country. Indeed, several Japanese businesses forecast that the current job market will make it harder to recruit workers than in previous years, which is considered to be one of the investment risks in Vietnam.
As such, many Japanese enterprises believe that resolving the problem of human resources remains one of the most important factors to consider when deciding on whether or not to continue expanding production and business activities in Vietnam, Nakajima said.
As a way of improving the quality of human resource and seizing on the opportunities brought about by the EVFTA, a number of schools under the Ministry of Industry and Trade have been actively investing in training, teaching, and providing human resources to adapt to the new situation. This is being done alongside efforts to strengthen connectivity with other firms, including large corporations such as Toyota, Samsung, and Canon.
A representative from Red Star University emphasises the importance of co-operating with enterprises in training activities due to the potential for the skills of students to be greatly improved in order to meet relevant job requirements set by companies.