Le Dinh Quang from the Vietnam Labor Federation confirmed the tendency of dismissing workers over 35, though there are no official statistics.
Most of the dismissed are workers at enterprises which use high number of workers. The jobs don’t require high technical skills and enterprises can quickly train new workers. Firms cite their health and lack of ability to adapt well to new technologies.
The average age of Vietnamese workers in enterprises is 31.2. The figures are lower in some industries, such as electronics (26.9), textile & garment (29.5), processing & manufacturing (30.9).
The average length of employment is 6.7 years, according to a report of the Institute of Workers and Trade Union.
A labor expert said that the massive layoff of workers aged over 35 is the inevitable consequence of the policy of attracting investment in labor-intensive industries and businesses based on intensive use of natural resources.
When labor and other costs increase, investors will cut costs through certain measures.
Employers, when recruiting workers, tend to choose those aged 15-18 and will not accept workers who are over 35 years old.
They plead low demand, renovation of technology or changes in business location to terminate labor contracts with workers who are over 35. In some cases, lay off workers without stating any reason.
A survey by the Vietnam Labor Federation found that after dismissal, 43.1% of workers became freelancers, 17.2% traders, 15.3% houseworkers, 13.3% workers in rice fields and 11% vendors. As for female workers, 82.6% become vendors and iced tea sellers, while 12.1% turned to freelancing.
In general, the dismissal of workers is believed to cause negative impact on the society. Trade unions have been called on to protect workers.
But some experts pointed out that the dismissals, to some extent, bring benefits. The laid-off workers have experience which allows them to get job promotions (becoming managers) or run businesses themselves.
However, experts say that forcing employers to retain workers aged over 35 won’t settle the problem. Companies must support workers so they can successfully transition to other jobs, and standard procedures on worker layoffs should be created to mitigate the shock of job loss.