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Vietnam must not cling onto low-cost labor status: PM

Monday, May 06, 2019, 11:47 GMT+7
Vietnam must not cling onto low-cost labor status: PM
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with workers’ representatives at an annual dialogue in Ho Chi Minh City on May 5, 2019. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam cannot brand itself as a cheap labor country and must strive to innovate if it was to compete economically on a global scale, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed at a dialogue with workers’ representatives in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday.

Skilled workers create a chance for competitive development as Vietnam is intensively and extensively integrating into the world economy, PM Phuc said at the fourth edition of the annual meeting, joined by hundreds of workers from the country’s seven key economic regions.

Less than 19 percent of Vietnam’s 55.3 million working-age population are made up of skilled workers – those who have an intermediate professional education diploma or higher qualifications, the government leader said.

It is a modest number considering the high demands of building a competitive economy, he stressed.

“We must build a workforce that is better in both quality and quantity,” PM Phuc said.

Specific policies must become available to improve Vietnam’s number of highly-skilled workers, as they are a “national treasure” that serves as a locomotive for economic development and a magnet for foreign investment.

A skilled worker can earn five to ten times more than his or her low-skilled peers, the Vietnamese leader said.

“You don’t have to worry about robots taking your jobs when you are highly skilled,” he added.

Underlining Vietnam’s need to avoid going down the path of becoming a “low-cost labor country," the premiere said innovation and inventiveness are qualities any worker should strive for in this modern age.

Concluding the dialogue, PM Phuc affirmed that the government will continue to work out policies to raise workers’ salary and welfare.

He urged workers to never stop training professionally and to spend more time “reading books” to improve their knowledge of relevant issues.

“If you don't go the extra mile training yourself, success is not yours for the taking,” he said.

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