Demand for IT specialists in Vietnam continued to increase in the first quarter of 2020, while banks stopped hiring. A recent study by recruitment tech startup JobHopin analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market in the country. Aside from IT, e-commerce and manufacturing are also flagging positive signs.
KrASIA recently spoke with founder and CEO Kevin Tung Nguyen, to learn more about the latest recruitment trends in Vietnam, on how the pandemic is affecting the emerging economy, and his plans for the company.
JobHopin recently raised USD 2.45 million from foreign investors to develop an automated recruiting platform for Southeast Asia. SEMA Translink, KK Fund, Mynavi Corporation, Edulab Capital Partners, NKC Asia, and Canaan Capital participated in the fundraising. JobHopin’s clients include PwC, Zalora, Traveloka, 7-Eleven, MetLife, Manulife, and DHL.
KrASIA (Kr): What are some of the emerging trends in the recruitment space in Vietnam in 2020 so far?
Kevin Tung Nguyen (KT): Amidst the pandemic in the first quarter, we have seen around 79% of GenZ and millennials using the internet to apply for jobs and over 90% of job interviews switching to online.
There has been a 25% surge in online activities and shopping, with 3,000–4,000 orders being placed online every minute during peak hours. This has led to the largest demand for laborers in the e-commerce industry, with a focus on delivery workers in Ho Chi Minh City. The IT sector has also witnessed a 7% increase in labor demand on a year-on-year basis. With increased online shopping, the manufacturing industry has seen a 27% increase in demand for middle and senior personnel.
However, layoffs, unpaid leave, and salary cuts have been common in other industries. For instance, the banking sector has mostly stopped hiring and there have been shifts of senior-level personnel with a large number of banks restructuring and reducing headcount. Similarly, hospitality recruitment was also impacted, with employees having to take unpaid leave, or earning barely 20–30% of their total salary, as the industry struggles to cope.
Kr: Is there a change in how foreign companies approach Vietnam?
KT: Yes, definitely. In fact, Vietnam has proven to be a trusted destination for foreign companies. While healthcare systems of many countries have come close to collapsing under the strain of the pandemic, Vietnam was quick to respond and remains in control, and the proven stability of the country’s economic environment is a highlight for foreign employers.
The IT industry, in particular, is getting more traction than ever. Ranked 5th in the 2019 Kearney Global Services Location Index and among the top 5 ICT (information and communication technology) countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam continues to rise as Asia’s next ICT destination.
Kr: In a recent interview, you said that you don’t see funding as a major milestone but just a beginning to achieve bigger goals. Would you like to elaborate on that? Also, what are your plans with the capital you raised?
KT: My goal with JobHopin has never been to make it the second unicorn of Vietnam. I envision JobHopin to become a “bunny” that can bring the best opportunities to the region while helping Vietnamese and Southeast Asian talents develop and expand their skills. That is the milestone I am aiming for, but yes, funds do help us reach these goals.
We were already working with clients from Japan, South Korea, the US, and Hong Kong. Now, with the new funding, we can continue to focus on the core mission of the business and scale further.
Kr: How can technology help revolutionize recruitment? What are the main challenges of this industry?
KT: The traditional recruitment industry is primarily manual with consultants assisting along every step of the process—from sourcing to screening, and interviewing to negotiating with candidates. While this practice can be effective for executive and senior management professionals, applying the same practice for junior and mid-level jobs is not the most productive approach.
There are about 60 million knowledge economy workers in Southeast Asia, and about 108 million job placements a year, but most positions take more than a month to fill on average, because many companies still do the pre-screening work manually. The industry needs to embrace technology to fill these gaps.
Kr: Speaking of leveraging technology, tell us more about JobHopin’s Bunny AI?
KT: Our matching platform, called Bunny AI, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to pair candidates with jobs by the valuation of the Match Score index system. With Bunny AI, recruiters can save time and money, as it can screen up to 40,000–50,000 CVs per day.
Bunny AI also helps job seekers in their overall career planning. The platform gives candidates access to an analysis of their profiles for competitiveness against their peers and shares in-depth career planning insights based on this analysis.
Moreover, users can track the recruitment process on the JobHopin app and receive interview reminders. They also have access to personalized job-oriented content from big data analytics, which is featured on JobHopin’s blog.
In Q4 of 2019 and the first eight weeks of 2020 alone, around 901,752 successful interviews were logged on JobHopin with 715 anticipating companies.
Kr: How is JobHopin helping recruiters and job seekers amidst the ongoing crisis?
KT: To help job seekers during this crisis, we are offering members free access to LinkedIn premium functions and feedback to help improve employability.
Recruiters can have access to free posting to the JobHopin talent pool which consists of over 1 million qualified candidates. They can also enjoy bonus credits and 3 months of free account subscription to activate our AI automation features for two types of subscriptions: JobMatch, where they have to pay only when talents apply, and JobHunt, where they have to pay only when talents accept offers.
Kr: How can recruiters and job seekers prepare themselves for the post-COVID-19 world?
KT: The post-COVID-19 is not all gloomy. The best advice we can give to candidates is to continue learning and to upskill.
According to our internal research, the top six hottest positions in the IT sector in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Hanoi include data scientist, software engineer, mobile developer, DevOps engineer, web developer, and information security analyst. And, as online media continues to grow, jobs for digital marketing manager, performance marketing specialist, SEM/SEO specialist, brand manager, and strategic planner are also in demand. Job opportunities in e-commerce and fintech will continue to increase as well.
For recruiters, strategic planning of recruitment activities and cost management should be one of the top priorities, as finding and retaining the best talents is crucial to any business.