Jobs Outlook and Prospects for Growth in 2018

Jobs Outlook and Prospect for Growth in 2018

The jobs outlook looks good for the foreseeable future in Vietnam. A new report from the International Labour Organization entitled “World Employment Social Outlook” takes a look at employment trends for 2018 and has made some interesting predictions for the upcoming year.  Examining the current state of the labour market, it makes global and regional projections of unemployment, and takes a look at those who may be in vulnerable employment and others working in poverty. HR and Recruitment trends for 2018 are looking very positive. 

Global Predictions

On a global scale it shows that economic growth in 2017 was at a steady 3.6% after running at a 6 year low in 2016 of 3.2%. The report predicts that growth will stay below 4% for the coming year. The slight improvements are credited to expansion in all countries; third world, developing and first world. Unemployment is expected to drop slightly from the 2017 figure of 5.6% to 5.5%. This all bodes well for the jobs outlook in Vietnam.

Asia and the Pacific Region

When looking at the general picture for Asia, expectations are that things will remain somewhat buoyant, with economic growth estimated at 5.5%, with East Asia seeing a fall to 5.1%. This is mainly due to the China effect, with their rate of growth diminishing. Southeast Asia is benefitting from the ever-expanding Indian economy. GDP in Southeast Asia is expected to grow at 6.7% throughout the year, whilst economic growth should remain at a stable 4.8% throughout 2018 and indeed 2019.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the Impact on Jobs Outlook

According to Forbes, Southeast Asia in general and Vietnam in particular can look forward to extremely favourable conditions in 2018 as foreign investment continues to flood into the country. The drought in early 2017 adversely affected farming, and the country’s mining industries suffered through heavy increases in production costs. These coupled with America’s decision to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership look like hitting Vietnam hard. However this resilient country simply shrugged off these setbacks and got on with it.

Confidence is extremely high that registered foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018 will be fine. “We can reasonably infer that high FDI in 2017 will result in high disbursed FDI in 2018, yet another year to post double-digit growth in FDI disbursement.” SSI Research.

Most of the FDI in Vietnam comes from countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. The big draws here are a young, vibrant workforce that is willing to learn and of course relatively low salaries. Korean giants Samsung alone increased their investment in 2017 by $2.5 Billion. This again all means confidence is high on the jobs outlook for 2018 in Vietnam.

Fastest Growing Industries are Increasing Demand for Staff

“Among all the bricks and mortar grocery channels, convenience shows the strongest growth prospects in Asia, thanks to rapid urbanisation, a growing young population and greater levels of disposable income.” Nick Miles, Head of Asia-Pacific at IGD

The huge upsurge in convenience stores in Vietnam is certainly proving to be the fastest growing market here. Circle K and Family Mart being joined by 7-Eleven have boosted the jobs outlook. Figures by IDG show that growth between 2017 and 2021 will show the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) grow at 37.4%, way ahead of its nearest Southeast Asia rival, Philippines at 24.2%

Potential Growth Areas

2017 started slowly for many sectors but things are now improving. The banking and financial sectors in particular are looking buoyant. This has be driven partly by the worldwide growth in equity markets. The insurance sector also looks set to offer improved opportunities regarding jobs outlook. (Source)

Speaking of how the finance sector in Vietnam should be affected, Professor Christophe Schinckus from RMIT Vietnam’s School of Business & Management in Ho Chi Minh City Says, “There are many opportunities to work in finance in the country or in the region. Because the economic growth is important in South-East Asia, there is a huge demand for the “financialisation” of society. Much remains to be done in terms of sophistication of financial services to support economic activities and credit development. Such context offers a perfect environment and many opportunities for finance graduates to find a job in line with their passion.” You can read more of his interview here:

Avoiding Skill Shortages to Improve Your Jobs Outlook 

Soft skills

All employers recognise the importance of soft skills like problem solving. Prospects should be sure to provide examples of how they have managed situations like this in the past.


This is an ever-increasing part of employment requirements. Social media skills are absolutely necessary in the modern jobs market. Facebook and Instagram are huge in Vietnam while Twitter is relatively small, but still used by a significant number of locals. At interview candidates should be able to demonstrate how they are proficient in their use and that they grasp the importance to any business.


It is one thing understanding what a company is about it is something entirely different to be able to present it to prospective clients. In today’s market prospective employees need to be confident in presentation skills.

English skills

This just goes without saying. A good grasp of English is imperative for improving ones jobs outlook. The ability to communicate easily with a global market sets anyone ahead of the game.

HR Trends in the Coming Year

2017 was definitely the year that “people analytics” came to the fore. Prior to last year only around 15% of companies used people data; in 2017 that jumped to a massive 69%. (Source Forbes)

Forbes also predicted 4 main growth areas in Human Resource management for the coming year.

A Move to Employee Experience

2018 see business leaders focusing on development of employee experience. This will see the engagement, culture and performance management of staff gaining prominence.

HR Analytics

As long as companies remain faithful to growing trends this field will see huge increases. The Jobs Outlook for many will be dependent upon good performances in this area.

HR Will Become More Digital

This has been developing steadily over the last few years and looks set to become more so this year. Asia has lagged behind a bit here, but looks like it will rival more advanced countries.

Growth of Short Term Contracts

Often seen as unsettling, for many this is an advantage. The days of jobs for life are long gone. Good people will always be in demand, if you have confidence in your abilities and like to move around, then short term contracts will improve your jobs outlook tremendously.


It is safe to say that we are all looking forward to 2018 in Southeast Asia with optimism and excitement. The whole region and Vietnam in particular should greet the coming year with enthusiasm. It is a good time to be in business, in Southeast Asia.