Photo: Simon Pathum
2022 - ongoing
TYPe OF DATALabour Market StatisticsEnterprise and Employment SurveysEconomic CensusAdministrative Data
Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (Department of Employment; General Directorate of Vocational Training; Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, Public Employment Service Centers), General Statistics Office, GIZ-RECOTVET program, VietnamWorks, CareerBuilder, TopCV
OJV Data, Labour Policies, Labour Market Monitoring, Skills Development, Policy Task Force
RegionAsia & the Pacific
Online Job Platforms and Government’s own Data
Vietnam's economy has been growing steadily for several years. The education level of the country’s labour force has increased significantly, which boosted domestic innovation in various sectors and attracted international investors. However, the Covid-19 pandemic posed a major challenge to policymakers: the Vietnamese labour market experienced a severe setback as industries were forced to close, workers were pushed back into the informal sector and Vietnam’s previously world leading levels of female participation in the workplace were reduced. Furthermore, the evidence upon which policy decisions were supposed to be based was not detailed or recent enough to effectively monitor the impact of decisions or to understand which sections of society were at risk of being left behind.
To support Vietnam's Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in developing a more flexible, efficient and sustainable post-Covid labour market the Vietnamese Department of Employment (DoE), General Statistics Office (GSO), Institute for Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) designed three distinct working streams focusing on the following activities:
1. improving the overall data ecosystem in the Ministry by enhancing data sharing and governance between different governmental and non-governmental institutions
2. development of a blueprint for how to access a new data source (such as online job vacancy data from a private partner)
3. strengthening of policymakers’ capacity to effectively interpret and use conventional and new data in decision-making processes
The objective is to make data-based information accessible for policymakers through a comprehensive Labour Market Information System. In the longer term, this can also be available to other users, such as local public employment offices, universities and training centres.
A Labour Market Information System with access to online job vacancy (OJV) data can improve policymakers’ decision-making - especially given the still lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The combination of new data sources with existing administrative and census data allows for a more comprehensive picture of current labour market dynamics leading to more targeted policies. This has numerous positive consequences for Vietnam’s development, most directly by supporting the realisation of SDG 8 (Decent work).
Vietnamese people aged 15 years and older lost their jobs, experienced loss of income or changes in work hours as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic (2021).
Toward the end of 2021, more than 28.2 million Vietnamese people aged 15 years and older lost their jobs or otherwise experienced loss of income or changes in work hours as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and measures to contain it.
Impacts were most significant in labour-intensive industries such as tourism and export-oriented manufacturing industries such as textiles (ILO, 2022).
As was typical in the region, the hardest hit were disadvantaged groups living in remoter provinces or working in the informal labour market. These groups have reduced economic visibility which hindered their ability to receive governmental assistance. As women are overrepresented in these groups, and were subject to additional demands for unpaid care work during the pandemic, female labour force participation declined particularly sharply (ILO, 2021).
In order to quickly restore the country’s economy and labour market to pre-epidemic levels and improve long term resilience, the Government issued Resolution No 06/NQ-CP which called for the development of a flexible, modern, effective, sustainable and integrated labour market. Speed and granularity of workforce data was identified as a core problem. The DoE was tasked with “building an information network and database on the labor market and future skills needs; invest in research and construction, regularly analyze and publish labor market forecasts by industry, occupation and region in the short, medium and long term, serving as a basis for timely and effective construction and implementation of policies on labor - employment, social security, [and] providing labor market information for employees, employers, training and research institutions”.
Data ecosystem mapping and policy questions
One of the project's main goals was not just to provide a one-off technical solution for this one instance, but to explore the potential of different data sources to further the Ministry's overall digital transformation. Hence, the partners conducted a data ecosystem mapping to gain a better understanding of their baseline situation and to address data gaps.
At the same time, expert interviews were conducted to identify issues where more granular information for decision-making was needed. This was to ensure that that the project concentrated on data that end-users find relevant and helpful.
After completion of these parallel activities, the results were presented to a workshop of all relevant policy stakeholders. One of the key things revealed in this process was that some ministerial units are already generating high-quality data that colleagues in other units were not aware of. Furthermore, some data processes were duplicated while in other places gaps existed. For example, policymakers highlighted their need for more information on which professions are over- and under-represented in order to better advise vocational schools and universities on training needs.
The LMIS Policy Task Force
Based on these results, the Vietnamese partners identified three priority workstreams. Firstly, the communication between various political institutions should be improved to enhance intra-governmental data sharing. Secondly, the identified data gap on occupational profiles and competency needs should be addressed through a collaboration with private data providers and this approach should serve as a blueprint to tackle other information gaps in the future. Thirdly, MOLISA’s capacities for using evidence in decision-making needed to be increased. This can be done through peer-to-peer exchanges with policymakers from countries with similar challenges and with the advice of national and international experts.
A cross-institutional LMIS Policy Task Force was established in August 2022. The task force consists of representatives of DoE, GSO and the think tank ILSSA. The task force members coordinate the implementation of the workstreams, communicate learnings and decisions internally and provide a platform for exchange with partners from academia, private sector and civil society.
Cross-institutional policy task forces can be an effective method for institutionalising data-informed decision-making.
1. Collaboration between experts from different institutions can lead to the development of common standards for data collection, analysis and sharing, enabling better data utilisation.
2. Combining data from various sources can lead to more comprehensive analyses.
3. Policy task forces can share best practices and enable all stakeholders to benefit from proven methods and approaches.
4. Establishing a task force can increase transparency and accountability in political decision-making by ensuring that decisions are based on reliable and granular information. This can help to strengthen public trust.
Online Job Vacancy Data
The LMIS Task Force explored the potential of various new data sources to fill the identified information gap related to occupational profiles. Inspired by successful approaches in Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and Germany, the partners decided to explore the potential of online job platform (OJV) data for Vietnam.
OJV data can provide detailed information on what types of jobs are available, what qualifications and experience are required for certain roles, and where exactly these jobs are being offered. In addition, the analysis of anonymised users provides information about which skill profiles are currently available, how many applications have been submitted for certain adverts and what salary expectations candidates have.
However, making OJV data accessible in Vietnam comes with some challenges:
To explore these issues further, a pilot based on an initial data donation from a large job platform in Vietnam was conducted with the collaboration of ILSSA. Through this, technical feasibility was proven to policymakers in DoE.
The results of the mapping of the data ecosystem show that many conventional data sources already exist within MOLISA and neighbouring governmental institutions, which can be used in a more systematic and targeted way in decision-making processes. The mapping also revealed where there are gaps and how those gaps could be filled.
While OJV data is not yet fully representative of the Vietnamese labour market and cannot capture the dynamics in the huge informal sector, it already contains relevant information for policymakers. For example, it can help identify which industries are gaining in importance and in which fields employers are struggling to find applicants with the needed skills. Based on this information, the government can take appropriate measures to support growth in these areas, for example by providing the necessary support to universities and vocational schools to provide relevant re-skilling and training.
OJV data can also help monitor the impact of recently adopted policies, something which was shown to be lacking during the pandemic.
By integrating OJV within the broader Labour Market Information System it is possible to cross-check the information with other labour market data. This ensures that the limitations and blind spots of OJV data are well understood, and policymakers develop a clear overall picture of Vietnam’s labour market.
The project team is currently reviewing technical and legal terms to make OJV data accessible. An important part of this process is to better understand the needs of the various beneficiaries of the prototype, both to ensure that the data generated is user-friendly and to design training and capacity building programmes accordingly. At the same time, the prototype looks to ensure future scalability by creating the relevant conditions for a potential integration of other data sources or the opening of the system for new user groups.