Manufacturing companies are offering higher salaries and benefits to attract workers as their year-end order books bulge, but are getting few applications amid the lingering fear of Covid-19.
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Nearly two months after HCMC started to reopen its economy following months of lock-downs, soft drink producer Tan Quang Minh Manufacturing & Trading only has half its pre-pandemic complement of workers.
The rest include those who have returned to their hometowns and are not willing to return, have Covid or were in close contact with patients.
“We have to organize buses to transport workers from other provinces to the factory in Ho Chi Minh City and take them back home every day,” Tan Quang Minh general director Nguyen Dang Hien said.
The company has also increased wages and guaranteed benefits, he added.
In the northern province of Bac Ninh, Japanese plating and machining firm Enshu Sanko Vietnam still has a shortfall of 20 employees and five senior managers.
It has been posting on social networking platforms, reaching out to crowded localities and asking current employees to look in their networks, but has been unable to fill the vacancies.
“We are also paying the full salary for the two-month probation period instead of 80 percent as before,” human resources manager Nguyen Thu Ha said.
To retain existing workers, the company has been offering allowances to people with children under six and pregnant women.
Hien said the slow pace of vaccination in smaller localities and workers’ avoidance of big manufacturing hubs due to fear of contagion are the main hurdles to hiring.
HCMC needs 43,000-57,000 workers in the year’s final quarter, while neighboring Binh Duong Province is looking for around 50,000 workers.
Deputy director of the Dong Nai Jobs Center, Tran Thi Thuy Tram, said many major companies are looking for 6,000 workers each as they resume manufacturing.
Companies in the province need around 50,000 workers now, she added.
The Dong Nai Garment Corporation is looking for 500 employees since 10 percent of its total workers have not come back and it has many orders to fulfill.
Garment companies have been streamlining its overtime policies to attract workers, Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, said.
However, there are still employees who have not received financial support from the government.
“We propose that this process be accelerated.”
The northern labor market also faces a serious shortfall especially with some companies looking to expand production.
Garment company May Tinh Loi in Hai Duong Province is set to put up its third factory by the second quarter next year and is looking to recruit 10,000 workers, but a spokesperson said it has been difficult to find people.
Another garment firm in the same province, NamLee International, needs 400-500 workers but has received few applications.
Nguyen Van Sang, deputy director of the HCMC Youth Employment Services Center, said the inconsistencies in travel policies between localities are making workers reluctant to return to big cities.
“But recruitment demand is high. Workers should not miss this opportunity”.