According to US-based management consulting firm, McKinsey, Generation Z (Gen Z) is the cohort born between 1995 and 2010, and are currently between the ages of nine and 24-years old.
Gen Z is entering the workforce and business leaders must stay ahead to harness this new wave’s talents and appeal to their interests.
According to an article by data and measurement firm, Nielsen titled, ‘How to engage with Generation Z in Vietnam,’ Gen Z will account for 25 percent of the labour workforce in the ASEAN member state by 2025.
The article described Vietnam’s Gen Z as the cohort that embraces multiculturalism and cares about various societal issues including social responsibility, environmental matters and gender equality. Vietnam’s Gen Z expresses this sentiment through their choice of brands, where 50 percent favour brands that reflect Vietnamese values and cultures.
Despite being young, Gen Z is cautious and always looking for sensible career choices moulded by practical realities. Adecco Vietnam, a leading recruitment and staffing agency, published a 2019 report titled, ‘Career choices & the motivations survey,’ that focused on the important aspects affecting Vietnamese talents. The report revealed that when it comes to choosing a job, the top priority for Gen Z is ‘salary and financial benefits’ followed by ‘professional recognition of qualifications’ and ‘job satisfaction.’
The survey found that 48 percent of Gen Z learns about career choices through social media instead of school or university (19 percent). This number compliments Gen Zs’ attitude towards technology since they have never known a world without smartphones and social media.
According to a Forbes article titled, ‘Understanding Vietnam’s Generation Z,’ the nation’s Gen Z uses an average of 2.77 social media platforms each week. However, this group is less interested in sharing their lives on social media for public record, wary of the consequences. Instead, they prefer to use anonymous social media platforms like Snapchat.
Moreover, research by Dell Technologies in a report titled, ‘Gen Z: The Future has arrived,’ revealed that although this batch looks for job security and monetary motivation, Gen Z is less interested in climbing the corporate ladder and are more intrigued about supporting their companies’ growth and success. The report also showed that 43 percent of Vietnam’s Gen Z want to work in socially and environmentally responsible organisations.
Upskilling Future Workforce
The advancement of technology and rapid changes in labour markets have prompted the youth to upgrade their skills or risk being left behind. According to a 2019 research by the World Economic Forum (WEF), 69.3 percent of Vietnam’s youth say that their “current education and skills will need to be constantly updated.”
Andree Mangels, General Director of Adecco Malaysia and Vietnam, said that Vietnam’s Gen Zs are proactive. “They start to look for internship opportunities right in the first year of college and don’t hesitate to broaden their networks through events. Yet, their skills are still very academic, which required additional training, especially soft skills.”
To meet market needs, vocational schools in Vietnam have been told to include soft skills training in their curriculum. Soft skills include communication skills and critical thinking, among others.
Apart from formal education, at least 49 percent of Vietnam’s Gen Z feel that fruitful training sources come from internship programs, followed by student’s club (41 percent) and part-time jobs (35 percent).
“Internship is the best learning course, not only for skills development but also to advance their knowledge on the industry and future work, thereby clearly defining their suitable job and career orientation,” said Thao Nguyen a recruitment consultant at Adecco Vietnam.
Companies too are getting involved in developing undergraduate talents. The Boeing Company and The Asia Foundation announced a one-year vocational training program for disadvantaged young adults in Hanoi and Hai Duong, focusing on practical information technology skills development. The project will provide participating youth with much better opportunities to obtain decent and secure employment in high-demand sectors.
As part of the program, youth will undergo technical skills training in addition to practical instruction in the English language, financial literacy, work readiness, and on-the-job training.
“Vietnam’s youth account for a significant proportion of the country’s labour force,” said Skip Boyce, president, Boeing Southeast Asia, adding that “these young adults in Vietnam must be sufficiently skilled to meet a changing labour market.”