Photo courtesy of www.ageofvolatility.com
From Wire Reports
Wishing to discover Vietnamese food and culture, Andre
Bosia came to the country four years ago and found it a comfortable place to
live. It was much more relaxed and generally very different from what he had
The French executive chef at the Sofitel Metropole Ha Noi
says: “Viet Nam is a good place to live in. I can get a salary corresponding to
my qualification and working hours. It is simple to integrate into the society
since people are very friendly.”
He now wants to settle down here, especially after
marrying a Vietnamese fashion designer.
Bosia is just one of many expats who want to live and
work in Viet Nam, where opportunities are aplenty.
Some 74,000 foreigners were working in Viet Nam last
year, well up above the 56,929 in 2010, according to the Ministry of Labor, War
Invalids and Social Affairs.
They were from more than 60 countries and territories,
with 58 percent coming from Asia and 28.5 percent from Europe.
Headhunters explain the jump in numbers by saying Viet
Nam is an emerging market that only opened up to foreign investment in the
early 1990s, thus throwing up many job opportunities for foreigners now.
Given the shortage of professional training and local
talent in certain technical and creative fields such as advertising and public
relations, foreigners are often hired to fill in the gaps.
Expats also are in business development and sales
positions, especially in furniture and some service industries, where the
clientele is mainly foreign.
“With the improvements in the legal system and investment
environment, Viet Nam attracts a large amount of foreign direct investment,”
Nguyen Thi Van Anh, managing director of recruiting firm Navigos Search, says.
“That leads to an increase in demand for senior
personnel. But local staffs have not met this demand, either in quality or
“This is a great opportunity for foreign personnel.”
To attract talent, many employers are willing to pay
higher wages and improve the working environment, she says. When hiring senior
foreign personnel, employers usually prefer people from Singapore, Hong Kong,
Malaysia and other places in Asia, or people from the United States and Europe
who have worked in Asia.
It is not just foreign experts and businesspeople who
have the opportunity to earn a lot of money working in Viet Nam. Even students
can earn thousands of dollars a month.
Without an interview or test, Ben from Australia, a
former student at the Ha Noi National University, got an English teaching job
at a language school in the capital. He also teaches privately.
“Vietnamese place a great emphasis on education and
learning. Hence, there are plenty of teaching and training opportunities for
Westerners, especially native English speakers,” he says.
Those with little teaching experience could be paid up to
$15 an hour, while those with significant technical or business experience
could easily earn $20 to $25 an hour, Ben says.
“It is not hard to make $2,000-3,000 a month in Viet Nam.
“I live a normal life with $1,500 in Australia. I am sure
you can live much better with your $2,000 in Ha Noi since it could be five
Not every vocation draws a high salary.
For Graham Sutcliffe, an English conductor at the Viet
Nam National Opera Ballet, the most attractive aspect of working here is not
the income but the people who share his passion for music and art. “Although
their salary is low, they still follow music. They understand me, and that’s
very nice for a conductor.”
Sutcliffe, who has lived in Viet Nam for more than two
decades, says life here has been improved a lot. “When I first came here, we
didn’t see many cars or public transport. Everything now is much more
comfortable in Viet Nam. And of course, life has become a lot easier and
However, it is very difficult to find jobs and make money
in the arts, he says. “I am not satisfied with my income here. I have a low
income. In art and culture, everybody is paid very little. For example, a
musician in England can earn at least $3,000 a month, but here they don’t even
Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Viet Nam Association of
Foreign Invested Enterprises, says many foreign experts and businesspeople have
come to Viet Nam in recent years to help train experts and managers in fields
like insurance, auditing and banking.
Vietnamese can also learn about business and corporate
management from expats working in foreign firms here, he points out.
“Thus, the contribution of foreign experts to Viet Nam is
very big. We should facilitate and encourage foreign talents to come to work in
Viet Nam, so that local people can learn from them,” Mai says.
Even locals, who are often paid lower than foreign staff
working in an equivalent position, welcome expats.
Phan Lam, who worked for both local and foreign media
companies before becoming a freelancer, says: “I prefer to work for a foreign
company than a local one. The foreign companies have a more open working
environment, and you are able to work without having to watch the others.
“With expat bosses, I concentrated on my job, focusing on
results and performance.”