Creating human resources for digital transformation

The National Digital Transformation Programme to 2025, with a vision to 2030, aims at the dual goal of developing a digital government, digital economy and digital society while also forming capable Vietnamese technology enterprises reaching out to the global market. In that journey, digital human resources play a core role in determining the success of the national digital transformation process.

In 2000, Vietnam had only about 50,000 people working in information and communication technology (ICT) and contributed about 0.5% to GDP. After more than 20 years, this human resource has exceeded more than 1 million people and contributed up to 14.3% of GDP. According to forecasts, by 2030, the country needs 2.5 million human resources to serve digital transformation, so promoting ICT human resource training is very urgent.

Quantity does not go hand in hand with quality

According to a report from the Ministry of Information and Communications, Vietnam has about 1.5 million workers in the ICT field. The country currently has 168 universities and 520 vocational schools providing ICT training, with a total number of annual graduates reaching more than 84,000 people, including about 50,000 people at the university level and about 34,000 at the college and intermediate level.

However, a survey by TopDev, a reputable recruitment organisation, shows that only about 30% of graduates meet the skills and expertise of employers. Trained students do not meet the requirements for retraining or changing careers, causing a huge waste of social resources. On the other hand, the limitation also lies in the training of digital human resources for each industry and field, posing the problem of promoting technology training in each specialised and narrow field, such as digital health human resources, digital tourism and digital agriculture.

According to Deputy Director of the Information and Communications Technology Industry under the Ministry of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, in the world, ICT is one of the three industries with the fastest reduction in personnel over the past five years at 23%. From the end of 2022 until now, about 380,000 workers lost their jobs, accounting for 1.9% of global personnel. According to (a site specialising in tracking layoffs in the technology industry), the number of technology workers laid off in 2023 was higher than in 2020 and 2021 combined. Amazon is the place with the most people laid off in the past 12 months (more than 27,000 employees), followed by Meta (about 21,000), Google (more than 12,000) and Microsoft (over 11,000).

Vietnam is also not out of the general trend when recording a reversal after a recruitment boom. Information technology has become one of the three industries with the fastest workforce reduction in the past three years. In particular, businesses in Ho Chi Minh City have a staff reduction rate of more than 22%, and in Hanoi, 14.7% of businesses reduced salaries and bonuses. According to Ms Nguyen Thi Thu Giang (Navigos Recruitment Company), businesses are increasingly recruiting more strictly, leading to pressure on information technology personnel to find new jobs. Many employees lack soft skills and foreign languages. Many people are used to being sought after, so when they have to look for a job, they are confused, do not understand the market, and cannot determine their expected salary. It is the inflexible mindset which makes employees considering new jobs always see more challenges than opportunities.

Applying new training models

Although the wave of layoffs in the information technology industry has not stopped, according to forecasts in Vietnam, some job positions will still have an increasing demand for recruitment, and the market has not been able to meet the demand such as data, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing engineer. Director of MISA Institute of Training and Technology Nguyen Thanh Tung shared that in the current context, students who have skills and knowledge about AI and know how to use AI tools will certainly be able to be recruited and developed better than others. “AI won’t take your job, but people who know how to use AI can take your job,” Mr. Tung repeated a very good saying about AI.

Vietnam faces a major turning point in the roadmap for developing information technology human resources to meet new market needs. Therefore, training quality is always a top priority for training institutions. University institutions need to transform to meet new challenges, such as increasingly stringent requirements from businesses as well as rapid changes in new technologies. According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the solution for digital human resources in Vietnam is a digital university. If universities still follow the old training method, they will be limited by teachers in both quantity and quality.

It is expected that by 2024, there will be five universities piloting the digital higher education model. In particular, businesses participate in developing curricula, accompanied by 30% of teaching time by experts from businesses. Professional and soft skills training programmes are also oriented to international standards, international certificates, digital platform applications, and online practice, while the training time is shortened from 4.5 to 3.5 years.

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said that to support universities, the Ministry will issue an annual report on the need to use information technology and digital technology human resources and send it to schools. In addition, the Ministry will create demand for digital human resources by promoting digital transformation and developing the semiconductor industry; support and promote digital technology businesses to go abroad to conquer the global market, turning Vietnam into a global digital transformation centre. In addition, the Ministry also called on several large digital technology enterprises to invest in the Research and Development Centres of the National University, creating connections between tens of thousands of digital technology enterprises with universities, etc.


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