Vietnam has committed to giving bigger emphasis to employment policies by ratifying the International Employment Policy Convention (known as Convention 122) last week.

The convention, convened by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 1964, requires member countries to pursue "an active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment".

"Employment has always been at the top of our agenda," said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep. "By ratifying ILO Convention 122 on Employment Policy, we are advancing our commitment to the international community concerning creation of employment, increasing the quality of education, building employability skills, business start-up skills, improving vocational guidance and reducing unemployment, especially youth employment."

The deputy minister said the country is speeding up the drafting of the Employment Law to submit to the National Assembly for approval next year.

ILO Vietnam expectes the Employment Policy Convention, which takes effect from June 2013 in Vietnam , will help push the country forward in establishing a comprehensive framework towards a conductible employment policy.

"We are very pleased to have partnered with Vietnam in doing the feasibility study of the ILO Convention on Employment Policy over the last two years that led to the country's ratification of one of the ILO priority governance conventions," said Director of ILO Vietnam Gyorgy Sziraczki.

According to the ILO General Survey on Employment Instruments 2010, while developed countries always took the lead in putting employment policies at the heart of their socio-economic development strategies, such policies remained a challenge for the developing world. Many developing countries saw employment strategies as an issue of their labour ministries only, not the focus of the whole society.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) reported that 2.27 per cent out of some 50 million Vietnamese of working age were unemployed last year, a slight decrease against 2010 (2.88 per cent). Unemployment rates in cities were worse than in the countryside (3.6 per cent against 1.71 per cent). Fifteen to 24-year-olds made up the largest group of unemployed, accounting for only more than half of the total number.-VNA