Despite having a large number of universities specialising in information and technology, IT companies in Vietnam are still short of candidates, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association.

Vu Anh Tuan, General Secretary of the Association, said that IT companies in HCM City by 2020 would need about 100,000 engineers who meet international standards. "This will be a challenge for the industry."

The industry especially need engineers for software outsourcing and IT services, he said.

HCM City has about 100 universities, colleges and institutes, of which half have an IT faculty.

They produce about 20,000 IT graduates a year, but only about 15 percent of them meet companies' needs, Tuan said at a meeting between IT lecturers and businesses held in HCM City recently.

Nguyen Hong Trang, Vice Rector of Vien Dong College, said the IT industry played an important role in the country's economy.

Employees in the industry require many skills to perform their work effectively, including soft skills, but the poor quality of IT graduate students remains a problem, she said.

The curricula at many schools are still far behind companies' demand, which forces companies to re-train new IT employees.

In addition, students have neglected the study of English, she said.

Seventy-two percent of IT students lack practical experience and 42 percent lack soft skills and team-working skills, according to figures from the National Institute of Information and Communications Strategy under the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Only about 15 percent of new graduates satisfy businesses' demand, the institute said.

Trang proposed a series of measures to improve the situation, including regular updates of IT training programmes in line with global development in the field.

Foreign language and soft skills should also be taught during the training process, she said, adding that it was also important to improve the quality of lecturers.

Delegates at the conference agreed that schools and businesses should work together to train human resources.

At the event, experts from Microsoft and Acumatica spoke about global technology trends and the cloud computing market.

In a related matter, the association's training club signed co-operation agreements with Global CyberSoft Vietnam, Luxoft Vietnam and Swiss Post Solutions on training programmes in the IT industry.-VNA