Vietnam will experience fierce competition for high-quality human resources when the ASEAN opens labour market begins next year.

"The Vietnamese labour market will see that most high-ranking management positions with salary from 10,000 USD – 15,000 USD will go to candidates of other nationalities, not Vietnamese," said Tran Anh Tuan, acting director of the Ho Chi Minh City's Centre for Human Resources Forecast and Labour Market Information.

Tuan spoke recently at a seminar on "Job Trends and Recruitment in Sales and Marketing" in HCM City.

"High-ranking staff requires professionalism, and good skills in management, foreign languages and teamwork, as well as a high working capacity," he said.

Tuan also pointed out that there was a gap between education and working reality as many students graduate from university seeking jobs in two hot fields, information technology and marketing.

However, they cannot find a job, but vocational school graduates can find one easily.

Tuan also noted that career ethics and social responsibility should be taught in school.

Paul Nguyen, General Director of CareerBuilder, a recruitment network, said that different ways of thinking and perspectives were important, and that professional skills can be learned from others.

"We should focus on career ethics and be concerned about reality, not just academics. We should think about results and how they serve our work," he said.

Nguyen said that his career recruitment network needed many middle managers, but good candidates were hard to find.

"Next year, Vietnam must make an important adjustment for high-ranking human resources. If not, all these positions will go to foreigners, especially candidates from Singapore and Thailand," he added.

In the next 20 years, Vietnam will still lack high-ranking human resources, he said.

Pham Thi Hong Yen, human resources director of DATALogic in HCM City High-Tech Park, revealed that in the past, she had spent six months looking for candidates for a mobile phone sales director.

Although the salary was high, around 15,000 USD a year, along with other benefits, fewer than 10 people in the entire country who had applied were qualified for the job.

"Meanwhile, we can hire Singaporeans and Thais for the position very easily with just little more pay. In fact, the only thing Vietnamese candidates can do better than other candidates is speak Vietnamese. So, investors can solve the problem by just hiring a good Vietnamese translator for 500 USD a month," Yen said.

She pointed out that Vietnamese candidates lacked an important skill: coaching.

"They can work themselves, but cannot teach others how to do things. And all companies need to have backup human resources for work," she said.

DrVoThiQuy, associate professor and lecturer at HCM City Economics University, who is also training director for Sales and Marketing Executive International Inc. (SMEI) Vietnam, said that recruiters often observed that Vietnamese students are knowledgeable but lack skills for working.

"Improper awareness of the importance of developing professional skills and career ethics has affected the quality of human resources," Quy said.

She said that university graduates should also take courses in vocational programmes that award international certificates, as such international standards would help them work more efficiently.

The seminar was held on the occasion of SMEI Vietnam's granting of international certificates to 10 managers for completing the year-long Certified Marketing Executive and Certified Sales Executive programme.-VNA