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Tuesday, 15 November 2016 11:37
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Policy for attracting hight-quality human resources in the public sector in Vietnam currently

(LLCT) - During this period of national industrialization and modernization, high-quality human resources play a central role in the country’s socio-economic development. Recognizing the importance of these human resources, the Party and State, in addition to various ministries, industries and local authorities, have issued policies for the recruitment of high-quality human resources in state bodies and organizations.

Some provinces have implemented very specific policies, including offering land, houses and/or financial to doctors and experts who would relocate in order to work for them. Masters and university graduates with distinction receive various levels of support related to their accommodation, salary, and other preferential treatment. Can Tho province has implemented the Mekong 1000 program, which aims to train 1,000 PhDs for organizations operating around the Mekong River delta. Hanoi has made incentives available for university graduates who rank highest in their final examinations. Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc, Ha Giang, Quang Nam and Quang Ninh provinces have also issued policies to attract high-quality human resources.

However, these policies have yet to achieve their target objectives. Provinces still encounter a number of difficulties in recruiting high-quality human resources in the term of quantities and specialization. Some places have been successful in recruiting qualified and capable people, but ultimately unsuccessful in retaining them for an extended period of time. As such, there are many issues should be worked out in order to enhance and strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of recruitment policies.

1. Perceptions of high-quality human resources

At the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (11th tenure), the Party used the term high-quality human resources for the first time. The Plenum stressed that developing high-quality human resources by increasing educational quality and advanced science and technology were key for the country’s rise above poverty and underdevelopment. At its 10thPlenum, the Party emphasized this term again when introducing general directions for the development of high-quality human resources, such as offering special treatment to talented individuals, leading scientists, chief designers, chief engineers, skilled technicians and skillful technical workers. The Party called for policies meant to attract experts in science and technology both foreign and domestic, including overseas Vietnamese communities. Thus, the definition of high-quality human resources consisted of scientists, technologists, chief designers, chief engineers, skilled technicians and skillful technical workers.

However, current policies for recruiting high-quality human resources by ministries, industries and central and local authorities all mention qualified human resources as professors, associate professors and holders of PhD and master’s degrees. This approach does not pay any special attention to people with strong technical skills - artisans and skilled workers and farmers are not considered high-quality human resources. This is a mistake as the fact that many people who only completed secondary school and even those with no degree at all have become creators of useful products, contributed to the socio-economic development of localities by their effort, passion, boldness, and creativity. For example, farmer Tran Quoc Hai from Tay Ninh province built aircraft and armored vehicles. Farmer Nguyen Van Thanh from Lam Dong province invented an anti-burglary device. The qualification-based approach sometimes cannot examine the actual capacity of the candidates and have caused difficulties for statistical work and for the formulation of policies on the development of high-quality human resources.

The other definition of high-quality human resources considered that those involved in creative research (scientists), teaching of science and technology (teaching staff at universities, colleges and professional and vocational schools), management (in science and technology, production and business), the exploitation and use of technology (technicians and skilled technical workers), and the direct operation of equipment and machinery (technical workers).

According to this perception, high-quality human resources do not only consist of people with academic degrees or titles, but also those who work in production such as experts and artisans. High-quality human resources are those capable of accomplishing their tasks in an outstanding, creative way and those who make useful contributions to society rather than those who only have the potential to do so.

In our opinion, the perception of high-quality human resources must be examined from the following perspectives: work ethics (e.g. sense of discipline, sense of responsibility, democracy, cooperation, and community); professional abilities; social skills (e.g. teamwork, adaptability, socialization); determination to overcome difficulties; persistence and the ability to hold oneself back; innovative spirit and methodology - initiative and creativity at work; ability to teach oneself and learn from one’s colleagues and capacity for long-term commitment; technical abilities (to achieve great or outstanding performance) and ability to make useful contributions to society.

2. Some issues related to the policy on high-quality human resources 

Currently, there are a large number of policy documents on high-quality human resources. However, many of them are inconsistent and overlap with each other and even contradict existing documents, leading to competition between provinces, ministries and industries in the attraction of high-quality human resources.

Some ministries, industries and provinces have not prioritized the development of high-quality human resources and have not linked it to their socio-economic development strategies. They have not specifically identified what positions require high-quality human resources and the formulation of policies are either formal in nature or merely for reporting purposes in some places of the country. Therefore, current policies are not attractive enough, do not motivate devotion or creativity, lack feasibility, or fail to retain capable employees. There are no sanctions against employees’ breaches of contract.

Given this reality, the following questions must be addressed:

Do recruitment policies attract high-quality human resources by salaries or working environments?

Surveys carried out in many places with people deemed high-quality human resources reveal that monetary incentives are often not sufficient motivators. Attractive salaries are important, but high-quality human resources are preferred a working environment where they can affirm themselves and have the freedom to create. Particularly, professors and doctors require a functional research environment so they may fully tap their intellectual capacity and contribute to the socio-economic development of their locality.

Working environments must ensure equality, professionalism and a real competitive playground for high-quality human resources. No talented person would like to be confined in a small space where his or her abilities are restricted or where people around them display envy or disregard.

Depending on their standards or abilities, high-quality human resources should be assigned the proper assignment and provided with mentoring services, especially upon first arrival. This is very important in determining their success and commitment with the organizations. Reasonable assignment of tasks will encourage them to work more efficiently and effectively and have chance to express their strengths and passions.     

Do recruitment policies attract high-quality human resources with preferential treatment or opportunity for development?

Although paying adequate attention to economic benefits (e.g. salaries, accommodation, work places, transportation, healthcare and educational services) is a feasible solution for attracting high-quality human resources and retaining them, organizations should offer a democratic, transparent, and equitable working environment providing employees with opportunities for self-assertion in addition to offering reasonable rewards and appreciation of their abilities and correctly utilizing their skills. Once there is a balance between all of these factors in making policies, it may be possible to attract domestic and foreign high-quality human resources and to make use of their intelligence.

In the current state of competition for high-quality human resources, the sector with foreign investment is more favourable in attracting candidates than domestic sectors do because it can offer higher salaries and benefits. In addition, when white-collar workers with foreign companies are assigned tasks, they often receive clearly defined responsibilities and benefits and are empowered in decision-making, whereby they feel much more appreciated and may foster their dynamism and creativity. This is an issue that should be taken into consideration while formulating policies for attracting high-quality human resources.

Should recruitment policies be implemented at administrative bodies or universities and research institutes/centers?         

Since the 6th Party Congress, when Vietnam entered a period of renovation, the Party and State have paid special attention on training, retraining and developing high-quality human resources for the sake of succession planning. The Politburo on the 21stof January 2014 issued Conclusion 86-KL/TW, which concerned policies for recruiting university graduates with distinction and young scientists as the party’s Party’s prospective members. This kind of foresight exemplifies the Party’s and State’s special attention to the youth and excellent scientists who deserve important positions in the cause of national construction and development.

However, questions arise with State organizations. Do they really need to recruit young scientists with doctoral qualifications while there are a thousand university graduates with distinction, other young scientists, and regulations which stipulate that doctors of science, doctors, masters and university graduates with distinction shall not exceed 35, 32, 28 and 25 years of age, respectively? What organization is the most suitable employer for them?

Firstly, work at state organizations mainly focuses on the delivery of public services and does not require the specialized knowledge or creativity of people with doctoral qualifications. Instead, it requires civil servants that are capable and have fundamental, synthesized knowledge as well as vision, a deep understanding of their work and their locality, devotion to their career, state management skills, and personal prestige.

So, how many of the thousand university graduates with distinction, masters and doctors satisfy the above-mentioned criteria and possess the above-mentioned qualities of civil servants? What is more, if poorly implemented, this policy may accidentally give rise to an erroneous “doctorization” mentality in the civil service as well as wasting national human resources.

Secondly, theory and practice have confirmed that developed science and technology serve as an important driving force for the advancement of Vietnamese people. Although the country’s science and technology have developed, there is still a large gap between domestic and international achievements. Shortages of great or outstanding scientists have become serious. Apparently, the most suitable work places for young scientists who hold doctoral qualifications and are under 35 years of age are universities and research institutes, which happen to need them the most. Meanwhile, the doctor-to-student proportion in Vietnam is low. Therefore, instead of using these resources for state management, it is advisable to encourage them to participate directly in programs of science and education.

Thirdly, there is a typical example of recruitment and the use of young staffs in Hanoi. After years of implementing policies to recruit the highest scoring university graduates for the City’s governmental bodies, the number of high-quality intellectuals who work there is very modest. Most of these graduates have chosen universities and research institutes as their place of work, and State administrative offices are only regarded as a last resort. The implementation of this policy therefore, has obviously failed to achieve its objectives. This represents a highly practical lesson for why state bodies are not very attractive to high-quality human resources.

There remains a lot of issues to improve about recruitment policies for high-quality human resources. Based on the recent implementation efforts of such policies, scientists and managers must look at theoretical and practical issues and contribute to the ongoing process of perfecting organizational recruitment.

Dr. Ha Quang Ngoc

MA. Tran Thi Hanh

Hanoi University of Home Affairs

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