How has Navigos helped shaped Vietnam’s professional recruitment market in the last 10 years?
In December 2001, I came to Vietnam as a traveler. Upon my arrival, I could see that this country was dynamic, the people warm and open, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit existed here. I also saw a lot of opportunities. Therefore, I decided to come back in 2002 and establish Navigos Group which included vietnamworks.com, on-line jobs portal, and Navigos Search which focuses on management level recruitment. In both services we aim to be a connector between candidates and employers.
Surprisingly we were a pioneer at that time. Before vietnamworks.com was born, candidates still looked for a job through traditional career introduction centres and newspapers. But now, after 10 years, we have helped hundreds-of-thousands of jobseekers find their dream jobs and helped thousands of companies recruit the best talents to be successful. We also have seen the advancement and development of the labour market.
We are proud to be among the first to bring professional recruitment services to Vietnam. Our jobs portal vietnamworks.com has more than 1,000,000 visitors each month and our Navigos Executive Search division has placed 7,000 senior executives for our clients. And there are about 4,000 new vacant jobs with both services each month.
In the last five years Navigos Groups expanded into providing a portfolio of HR services, but later streamlined back to its core service of recruitment. Could you explain why?
By 2008, Navigos Group had succeeded in becoming the largest human resources services firm in Vietnam. We had grown to over VND200 billion ($9.6 million) in revenue and 300 employees, but still had not made a profit. We recognised that we needed to change, finding the right strategy to thrive and develop. In 2009 we knew it was the suitable time to define our future as the market leader in recruitment only. We already had the largest and most professional executive search firm and the largest job website vietnamworks.com which posts over 1,000 new jobs each week. Our recruitment businesses were already profitable and recruitment was and is our core strength.
Since 2010, Navigos Group is profitable, focusing on recruitment only, and growing quickly. Our mission is to help people and companies achieve their dreams and we fulfill our mission by helping jobseekers find their dream jobs and helping companies recruit the best talent. Our employees, which we call ‘Dream Makers’ have a singular and clear focus.
Despite an increasing number of labourers joining the market annually, employers are still complaining about skilled worker shortages, especially at management levels. Does this mean recruitment services are failing to meet market demands?
Vietnam has been one of the most dynamic economies in Southeast Asia. With fast economic growth over the past 10 years, meeting the needs of recruitment for the market has been undoubtedly difficult. After more than 15 years in the World Trade Organization, Vietnam’s workforce only partially meets the needs of local and foreign enterprises. At our clients’ companies, most middle managers are local Vietnamese. There are few Vietnamese, however, in foreign enterprises who have risen to the top positions of CEO, CFO or CIO. The talent pool of qualified Vietnamese C-level executives is very small.
As Vietnamese executives gain more experience and improvements continue in the nation’s higher education system, the local executive talent pool will expand. The big question remains whether it can or will expand fast enough to keep pace with growth in the economy and growing demand for executive talent? I suspect not. For the foreseeable future there will continue to be many foreign executives in senior posts. That said, there is enormous opportunity for Vietnamese executives to rise to the ranks of CEO and I believe that highest performing companies will be led by Vietnamese in the C-suite.
Given Navigos Group’s dozens of in-depth surveys on Vietnam’s labour market over the last 10 years, what can you say about recruitment trend in the country?
In the world and here at home in Vietnam we are experiencing challenging economic times and a reduction in the need for recruitment in many sectors. According to the Vietnamworks Online Recruitment Index Report in the first half of the year 2012, the index reduced to 14 per cent compared with the same period last year. However, once the economy begins to recover and grow, recruitment demand will increase, especially in middle and high management level.
I advised our clients and employers generally to have a good succession plan and talent retention strategy in place now, because when things heat up again towards the end of this year, competition for the best talent will be fierce.