Vietnam is still very much a rural country and deficient in productive employment, said the very first report on employment trends released by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) on Jan. 29.

According to the “Vietnam Employment Trends” report, though the proportion of agricultural labour fell by 13 percentage points between 1997 and 2007 to 52 percent of total employment, agriculture remains the most important economic sector.

This is reflected in the fact that a very large proportion of total employment is in two categories, namely those that work on their own account and unpaid family workers, said the report. Between two-thirds and three-fourths of total employment in 2007 fell in these two categories.

This shows a “very high degree of total employment that is vulnerable”, it added.

The lack of productive employment, the report shows, is reflected in the large number of manual labourers, which totalled 28.1 million people in 2007 or 62 percent of total employment.

The report, however, acknowledged encouraging trends in the nation’s efforts to develop its human resources and labour market. The unemployment rate was kept stable over the last decade and there has been an increase in the number of newly-employed workers and those moving to better-paying jobs.

The “Vietnam Employment Trends” report was prepared by MoLISA with technical support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through the Labour Market Project, funded by the European Union.

This is “very timely” as the labour market is going through a major transition and facing important challenges and opportunities as Vietnam is reaching middle income status relative to other global economies, said Willy Vandenberghe, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Vietnam./.