Job hopping after Covid-19


A month before Tet, Nguyen Minh Hong, 26 years old, an administrative employee in Ho Chi Minh City applied for a leave of absence.

“Many people say I’m stupid, why don’t I take a Tet bonus and then take a break. But last year, I received more than my dedication,” she explained for her decision. Before applying, Hong applied to nearly a dozen companies, interviewed at four places, and was not accepted at a new place, but she still decided to quit.

Hong’s decision is an example of a paradox: the unemployment rate is high, but the number of workers who actively quit their jobs is also high.

According to the General Statistics Office, by the end of 2021, Vietnam has more than 1.4 million unemployed people, accounting for 3.22%, up 0.54% over the previous year. In particular, the underemployment rate in urban areas exceeded 4%, higher than in rural areas, contrary to the labor market trend in recent years.

An online survey by recruitment consulting company Anphabe shows that, in the current labor market, up to 6 out of 10 people are actively looking for a new job. To explain this phenomenon, Anphabe’s survey pointed to many groups of causes directly related to Covid-19 such as: career fluctuations, fatigue, exhaustion in a stressful, unbalanced working environment or lose connection with colleagues, lose connection with the company…

This paradox is sweeping across the Americas, Europe, Asia and now Vietnam, under the common name of The Great Resignation – mass layoffs.

Research by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, conducted in 2021, in 8 countries with diverse economic and labor market models also proves it. Before the pandemic, only about 6% of workers had a need to change jobs in search of a higher salary. After Covid-19, this rate could be up to 25%.

Workers line up for unemployment benefits at the Employment Service Center (Trung Kinh, Cau Giay), June 2020. Photo: Ngoc Thanh

Nguyen Minh Hong said that she wanted to quit her job because she felt that the pandemic made her unable to connect with colleagues and did not want to stick with the company. Starting at the company in early 2020, she and her colleagues hardly know each other because they mainly work online. Sometimes we meet each other, everyone is wearing masks, just talking about work. “I feel lost,” Hong said.

Once, the boss texted to direct the work, she did not understand the meaning, so she asked a lot of questions, was called and scolded. Hong said that if she met face-to-face, she would understand her boss better and exchange work easier.

In the middle of last year, Hong contracted Covid-19, had to be isolated for treatment for nearly a month. After that, her mother, father-in-law, and sister were also infected, so her disconnection time with the company tripled. Despite taking a long break, she still gets an allowance. “Not much, I still feel like I owe a stranger,” she said. Psychological pressure, having to both take care of the child and work, the young mother just wanted to “leave the sarcophagus for light”. At the end of the year, many red patches on the map of Ho Chi Minh City turned green, businesses opened their doors one by one. Hong decided to untie and find new opportunities for herself.

Another reason leading to massive layoffs after the market gradually opened is the increase in the number of “jop hoppers” employees after a long period of “immobility” due to the impact of Covid-19. , according to Anphabe.

Usually only working at the company for less than a year, he changed jobs, but the disease has tied the legs of Nguyen Hoang Minh, 22 years old, in Cau Giay, Hanoi, for the past two years. He quit his job at a foreign company in early 2020. Within four months, he switched to working as a real estate broker, a bank credit officer, but had no income, so he returned to his old company. For more than a year now, he has been struggling to resign because he has to work through the night without learning any skills. On Tet holiday, when there were many job opportunities, he called to inform his boss that he had decided to cook for the past year.

Hoang Minh identifies himself as a member of the “super job hopping” group, having only been with one place for about two years, accounting for 17% of Vietnam’s human resources. Not too surprised when he chose to quit after more than a year of working.

Hoang Minh worked the night shift in March 2021, from 10 pm to 6 pm with an income of more than 6 million VND per month.  Photo: Character provided

Hoang Minh worked the night shift in March 2021, from 10 pm to 6 pm with an income of more than 6 million VND per month. Now, he has resigned from his job after months of being “depressed but not daring to let go”. Photo: Characters provided

But workers in the standard group, who have been with an enterprise for about 4.5 years, accounting for 64% of human resources, such as Nguyen Thu Minh, 32 years old, in Thanh Xuan, Hanoi, also feel depressed and tired. “A tumultuous year left me on the edge of my head and realized I was no longer the right fit for this job,” said the girl, who works in the media industry.

During the time at home due to the pandemic, she was more concerned with the question “Does my work add any value to society?”. Thu Minh spends time reading books and newspapers, realizing that the labor market is very unstable. She needed to learn on her own and was given the opportunity to change, but her current job could not meet that expectation.

Dr. Ly Qui Trung, professor of Western Sydney University, Australia, said that the context of Covid-19 combined with 4.0 technology makes all changes happen quickly and unpredictable, typically young people jump a lot in the current era. According to John Kleeman, founder of Questionmark, an online assessment service provider (USA), the work is boring and lacks development opportunities. Occupation is one of the reasons why workers leave their jobs.

The post-Covid job-hopping trend is causing many difficulties for the economy, especially the recovery of businesses. According to a survey by the General Statistics Office of 22,000 enterprises, nearly 18% said there was a labor shortage, the highest in the Southeast region with 30.6%. This situation will also cause businesses to lose more costs for labor, including costs of recruitment, training, conversion… pushing up production costs more, more or less leading to inflation.

Saigon Seafood Trading Joint Stock Company in Tan Tao Industrial Park (Binh Tan District) lacks workers to make Tet orders.  Photo: An Phuong

Saigon Seafood Trading Joint Stock Company in Tan Tao Industrial Park (Binh Tan District) lacks workers to make Tet orders. Photo: An Phuong

In order to minimize the mass of workers leaving their jobs, Dr. Pham Khanh Nam, dean of the Faculty of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics suggested that there should be economic incentive policies including money (eg salary increase) and welfare. benefits such as accommodation, vaccines, testing, transportation, and skill training suitable for new jobs.

“Localities should link vocational training, strengthen skills to improve the professionalism of workers. Then, both the quantity and quality of labor resources will be better”, Mr. Nam stated the solution.

Experts advise that instead of rushing to jump jobs, employees need to build a suitable roadmap, clearly define what they want, need to learn, and add something to serve the job.

Thu Minh decided to return to her university majoring in Psychology. She has almost completed the “self-improvement” route before leaving her job, by taking online courses to strengthen her professional knowledge and update new knowledge. Wanting to catch up with the job better when transferring, Thu Minh has also collaborated with the unit that plans to apply for the past half year.

Currently, Hong lives on unemployment benefits and is raising the intention of trading or renovating motels for sublease, instead of working as a salary. Hoang Minh has received a notice of acceptance for the position of marketing staff for a cosmetic company. “I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with this place,” said the guy from the super job hopping group.

Names of some characters have been changed

Pham Nga

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