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Job quality undermines youth potentials and national growth

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Job quality undermines youth potentials and national growthHANOI – The quality of jobs available for young people aged between 15 and 29 is ringing an alarm in the youth labour market in Viet Nam, the first national school-to-work transition survey has shown on the occasion of the International Youth Day (12 August).

The preliminary findings of the survey, carried out by the General Statics Office and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in early 2013, indicated that the impact that low-productive employment among the large youth population has on the growth prospects of the country is a primary concern.

The nation-wide survey showed that poor quality employment impacts more than half of young workers. Nearly eight in ten are in informal employment and half of them are in irregular employment, meaning own-account work or temporary contracts.

According to the survey, which looks at the passage of the young people from end of schooling to the first stable (with work contract duration of more than 12 months) or satisfactory job, over education – or the fact that a degree holder takes up work for which she or he is overqualified – is the other side of the problem. Three in every ten 15-to-29-year-olds is overeducated for their job, making them likely to earn less than they otherwise could have and fail to use the most of their productive potential.

Transition is not an easy path

The survey pointed out that the largest share of the youth population in Viet Nam (59 per cent) has completed their labour market transition to a stable or satisfactory temporary job or self-employment, with males outnumbering females. About 23 per cent of the youngsters have not yet started the transition, mainly because they are still at school while the rest remains "in transition".

Among the "transited" young people, there is an even split between those who have attained stable jobs and those engaged in what they regard as satisfactory self-employment or temporary employment.

Nearly half of those who have completed their labour market transition moved directly from schooling to their current stable or satisfactory job, while the remainder had to experience non-satisfactory temporary employment or work as unpaid family workers before being able to find a better job. The transition path for the latter proved to be extremely long at 58.5 months, or nearly five years.

For the young people who remain "in transition", they are likely to find themselves staying within the category for another long period of time. The data showed that the youth remaining in transition have already spent on average six years struggling to find a stable or satisfactory job.

ILO Viet Nam Country Director Gyorgy Sziraczki said young people in Viet Nam need supports to make their labour market transition smoother, which will help the whole country "unleash their full potentials".

The link between education and training and export growth, economic diversification and the creation of more and better jobs should be strengthened while another set of policies, such as career guidance, job counseling, labour market information and employment services could ease the transition from school to work. The preliminary findings of the survey showed that the most popular job search method for the young people is now through "asking friends, relatives and acquaintances".

"Unless Viet Nam takes advantage of its huge young labour force that will soon pass their prime, it will have to pay long-term costs," said Mr Sziraczki.

The Viet Nam school-to-work transition survey will be released this autumn. It was developed to characterize the specific youth employment challenges and to support policy-makers in designing adequate instruments to help the transition of young people into employment.

In Viet Nam, which is one of the 28 target countries doing the similar poll, the survey will also have a second round planned for 2014.

The survey was introduced as part of the global Work4Youth partnership between the ILO Youth Employment Programme and The MasterCard Foundation. The US$14.6 million project, which will run for five years to mid-2016, aims to strengthen the production of labour market information specific to young people and to work with policy-makers on the interpretation of data.

For more information, please contact:

Tran Quynh Hoa (Ms) | Communication officer | ILO Country Office for Vietnam | 48-50 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi | Tel: (84-4) 37340907 Ext.218 | Fax: (84-4) 37340904 | Mobile: (84) 904 409 787 | Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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