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Responsible for 23 percent of Vietnam's GDP, Ho Chi Minh City is alive with opportunities for jobseekers. It is a fast-growing city with an equally fast-growing job market. Despite the many jobs available, the Vietnamese government is focusing on ensuring that the Vietnamese have priority for employment. As a result, conditions for foreign workers have become increasingly strict, so expats will need to be able to bring specialised skills or knowledge to the table to make a good case for being hired over a local.
Job market in Ho Chi Minh City
While many expats are transferred to Ho Chi Minh City from elsewhere in the world to take up a position at a multinational company, those who arrive in the city wishing to look for a brand-new job will likely find this to be a tricky endeavour.
At present, the industries with the greatest demand for workers are engineering and manufacturing. Expats with expertise or top-level management experience in these sectors may find a gap to fill in the market. Other strong sectors include IT, mining and construction. Expats with an aptitude for language often find work in tourism – where speaking more than one language is a fantastic asset – or in teaching English.
Finding a job in Ho Chi Minh City
Expats looking for employment in Ho Chi Minh City can begin by trawling sites such as LinkedIn and the classified sections in local newspapers. Recruitment agencies can also offer some assistance in helping foreigners with specialist skills find employment within their particular field of work. Foreign chambers of commerce in Vietnam can also be a great source of information when it comes to finding connections and employment opportunities in the city.
Work culture in Ho Chi Minh City
The Vietnamese have a healthy work ethic; they work incredibly hard but also know that working in subtropical conditions is tiring. Communal lunches are an important part of the working day, as is getting to know colleagues over an after-work drink.
It is essential that expats have a business or work visa before starting work in Vietnam, and that employers have registered their expat employees as taxpayers. Expats are advised to ensure that their payslip clearly shows that tax is deducted from their monthly salary.
►Banking, Money and Taxes in Vietnam tells you all you need to know about expat money matters
"The hierarchy in organisations is more present in Vietnam than in western countries. That is one of the main work culture differences that Asian countries have. As a fresh foreign worker, you may have to adjust your behaviour when talking to someone who is older or has a higher position in your company. Other than this minor adjustment, Vietnamese people are very friendly and curious about foreign perspectives, so in a work environment, you will feel that your ideas and suggestions are well listened to by your team."
French expat Guillaume shares his expat experience in Ho Chi Minh City in our Expat Arrivals interview.
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Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ho Chi Minh City. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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