2023 – A Tough Year for Labour Market

2023 – A Tough Year for Labour Market

January 9, 2024

Reducing working hours, downsizing, and even preemptive closing factories to let workers take an early Tet holiday… are few of the on-going situations at many businesses.

Thousands of workers are facing job loss with little to no chance of finding new jobs. They also shared that this year seems to be the worst layoff they have ever seen that even the Covid-19 period is pale in comparison. 

Struggling in the “storm” of layoffs 

The report from the General Statistics Office on the labour market in the third quarter reveals that more than 118.000 workers have lost their jobs, concentrated mainly in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong. These workers account for over half of the total unemployed workers nationwide, as these cities have many workers in the textile, garment, leather, and footwear industries. 

The General Statistics Office assesses that as hundreds of thousands of workers being forced to take leaves, have their working hours reduced, quit, or face unemployment, this situation has been occurring from Quarter IV/2022 and has cooled down in Quarter IV/2023. 

However, many workers in various industries are still witnessing the opposite trend – intense downsizing, early Tet holiday for workers, a phenomenon that was rare even during the most stressful periods of the pandemic. 

Regarding the retail industry, a major player in phone and electronics retail, Thế Giới Di Động, has recently announced that it would continue to close a series of stores in the fourth quarter of this year. After only 1 year, this business has downsized its workforce by as many as 11.857 employees. With the closure of nearly 150 stores in October and November, the number of employees losing their jobs may continue to increase to hundreds of people. 

In addition, many businesses in the technology industry also tend to cut staff. Ms. Nguyễn Hoa (26 years old, Hanoi) said that since October, her company in Duy Tân, Cầu Giấy, has laid off the design department, followed by downsizing in other departments. She said: “Currently, the entire company has less than 5 employees. Many colleagues who lost their jobs are also struggling to find new jobs”. 

Significant layoffs heavily impacted manufacturing industry
Significant layoffs heavily impacted manufacturing industry

The labour market in 2024 is hard to predict 

Sharing with Tri Thức – Znews, Ms. Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương, Deputy CEO of Talentnet Corporation, stated that after a turbulent year in 2023, the landscape for 2024 has become more unpredictable than ever. 

Statistics from the Talentnet – Mercer report shows that only 37% of businesses are certain about the need for additional recruitment in 2024. 

According to Ms. Hương, the real estate industry has positive signals after a long period of stagnation, thanks to government policies. However, many investors are still very cautious about the general market fluctuations, so recruitment will recover but will be slow. 

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“High-tech is an industry that will be strongly impacted in 2023 as business tighten costs, streamline technology departments, or switch to outsourcing. However, AI and Fintech projects from Europe or semiconductors & chip manufacturing from United States are promising investments in the Vietnam market in 2024, hopefully helping the human resource situation of this industry to improve”, Ms. Hương assessed.

For the manufacturing industry, Talentnet’s leader recognizes that this is a heavily impacted industry in 2023, with significant layoffs. However, to recover in the new year, manufacturing businesses sill have high recruitment needs, especially for positions in business development or technical roles to enhance products and explore new opportunities.  

Workers in 2024 need to prepare mentally for the difficulty of finding a satisfactory job. Ms. Hương explains that it is because the signs of recovery are not strong in the job market, especially in general positions, and salaries will also be challenging to compete for. In addition, those who are still working should expect lower bonuses and salary increases compared to previous years. 

Along with that, Talentnet’s leader encourages workers to equip themselves with new, complex skills. Due to the encroachment of AI in many work categories, businesses will require personnel to expand their expertise in both depth and breadth. 

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