Retail chains seek more workers as Amazon prepares to arrive

Vietnam, a promising retail market for retailers thanks to its young population and economic growth, faces a lack of qualified workers for the sector.

The Vietnam E-commerce Association (Vecom) confirmed that Amazon, at a Vietnam Online Business Forum on March 14, will kick off a cooperation program with Vecom to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sell products through Amazon. 

The decision by Amazon shows the great potential of the market, the second market in South East Asia that Amazon has chosen for development. 

retail chains seek more workers as amazon prepares to arrive hinh 0

Before Amazon, Lazada entered Vietnam, and now holds 1/3 of the online shopping market share. Alibaba spent US$1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Lazada, realizing its plan to conquer the South East Asian market.

However, analysts say that retailers are facing a big problem – the lack of qualified and capable workers. At a meeting of CEOs from the retail industry held recently, the CEOs spoke about the lack of qualified personnel. 

“It has been very difficult to find workers in recent years,” said Trinh Lan Phuong, CEO of BiBomart, distributor of products for mothers and kids.

BiBomart was established in 2006 with initial investment capital of VND130 million. Ten years later, it was valued at US$142 million and reported revenue of over US$100 million from 150 shops.

Phuong said in the 2009-2014 period, the retail chain had three big problems – finance, staff and administrative systems. She said the market promises great potential and the company wants to expand, but the lack of capable workers has hindered the plan.

Phuong wants well trained workers to become retailers. But in Vietnam, there is no school that provides workers to the retail industry.

“In Vietnam, most capable students continue study at university after finishing high school and they want well-paid office jobs after graduation. In their eyes, sales is just a job for the short term,” she said.

Dinh Thi My Loan, chair of the Vietnam Retailers Association, said in Vietnam retail is not considered an occupation. “Vietnamese think retailers are just intermediaries who make money from ‘slave trading’,” she said.

Personnel has also been a difficult issue for Tiki. “The biggest problem is not investment capital. If we do well, we will be able to call for capital easily. But it is difficult to find talented people,” Tran Ngoc Thai Son, Tiki’s CEO, said.


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