Vietnam Labor Market

Four out of ten Vietnamese with formal employment are found in agriculture, while just under a fifth of the workforce is employed in industry. Others receive their income from the service sector.

Officially, one third of the workforce is estimated to work in the informal sector of the economy.

The official unemployment rate is low, but in reality there are probably no more jobs or are underemployed. Since the end of the 1980s, Vietnam’s state-owned enterprises have eliminated several million employees and the defense has been lost to over half a million soldiers. Unemployment is particularly high among young people; the workforce is replenished with around 1.5 million young people each year.

New jobs have been created through large foreign investments in factories that manufacture, for example, clothing, shoes, mobile phones and computers. The foreign companies are attracted not least by the low wages.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of Vietnam, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.

Vietnam Population

The only legal country organization, the Vietnam General Conference of Labor in English, has close ties to the Communist Party and primarily safeguards the interests of society, not the employees. All unions must join the national organization and all employees must join the unions where there is. Thus, a majority of the government employees are connected, but few in the private sector.

In foreign-owned companies, where the working conditions are often said to be poor, spontaneously formed, independent “workers’ associations” occur. Strikes against low wages and long working days have become common in recent years. The strikes are usually illegal.



1.9 percent (2019)

Youth Unemployment

6.9 percent (2019)



Nine are jailed for overthrowing operations

December 29

Nine people are sentenced to prison for between three and 14 years for overthrowing activities and propaganda directed at the state, reports the state TV channel ANTV. At least 15 people have been arrested in 2017 for similar crimes and several have been sentenced to prison. This crime classification is often used to set dissent and regime critics. In this case, the convicted persons must have distributed leaflets with information which the court considers “defames leaders and calls for the regime to overthrow”. The judgments against regime critics have increased since 2016 when Vietnam gained a more conservative government.


Seven years in prison for bloggers

November 27th

22-year-old blogger Nguyen Van Hoa is sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading regime-critical propaganda when he posted a series of Facebook articles supporting protests against Taiwanese steel mill Formosa that in 2016 dumped toxic waste off central Vietnam’s coast and caused extensive fish death and other environmental degradation. The spill caused the fishing families in the affected area to see their incomes fall sharply.

Trade at the center when Trump visits Vietnam

November 12

US President Donald Trump visits Vietnam in conjunction with Pacific Apec summit in Da Nang. Trump said at the meeting that the United States will no longer tolerate the chronic imbalance prevailing in trade between the United States and other Apec countries. Trump wants to see fair and reciprocal trade. Apec is made up of 21 countries in the Pacific region. Together, they contribute about 60 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). After the meeting, Trump makes a one-day official visit to Hanoi, with the United States and Vietnam signing a series of bilateral agreements on energy and aviation communications, among others.

The TPP agreement shall be the CPTPP agreement

November 11

The eleven countries that are still included in the TPP Free Trade Agreement since the United States jumped off 2016 agree in Vietnamese Da Nang to continue free trade cooperation by forming the CPTPP (the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership). The countries, including Vietnam, agree on the core of the future agreement in conjunction with the economic cooperation organization Apec holding its summit in Da Nang November 10-11. The United States withdrew from the TPP since Trump took over as president of Washington. The Trump administration considered the agreement to disadvantage the United States and did not agree with Trump’s “America First” political agenda.


Bank manager sentenced to death

September 29th

The judges fall into the extensive corruption and fraud harassment surrounding Ocean Bank. A total of 51 bankers, businessmen and bank officials are involved in the lawsuit. The former CEO of the bank, Nguyen Xuan Son, is sentenced to death for fraud, abuse of power and malpractice. The bank’s founder and former chairman of the board, Ha Van Tham, was given life imprisonment for the same crime and for violating lending rules. In addition, auditors, department heads and other bank officials were sentenced to everything between 22 years in prison and conditional sentences. The month-long trial can be seen in the light of the Communist Party’s ambition to curb the widespread corruption in the country.


Diplomatic knot around ex-oil chief

August 3rd

The corruption-accused former chief of the state oil company Petrovietnam, Trinh Xuan Thanh, appears on TV and says he made the mistake and decided to return to his home country because he was tired of being in the room. But according to German authorities, on July 23, Tranh was abducted by Vietnamese intelligence agents from a park in Berlin. Germany is raging over a “scandalous violation” of sovereignty and orders a Vietnamese intelligence agent to leave the country. Thanh was accused in 2016 of causing the equivalent of $ 150 million in losses to Petrovietnam. He left the country and has been one of Vietnam’s most wanted people ever since.


Four regime critics are arrested

July 30

Four people are arrested, accused of overthrowing activities. All have previously served prison sentences for crimes against the state, but the charges are serious this time and could lead to the death penalty. The four are well-known dissidents Pham Van Troi and Nguyen Bac Truyen, freelance writer Truong Minh Duc and Protestant pastor Nguyen Trung Ton. The UN human rights body OHCHR has just criticized Vietnam for the rising repression against activists, as a result of the verdict against Tran Thi Nga a few days earlier. Human Rights Watch calls 2017 a “terrible year” for human rights in Vietnam.

Activist is sentenced to prison

July 25

Activist Tran Thi Nga is sentenced to nine years in prison for “criticizing the Communist State for human rights violations” as well as advocating pluralism and an end to the one-party state. Tran Thi Nga has primarily been known as a critic of China’s actions in the South China Sea, but has also written about land issues, labor law, police brutality and environmental issues. The verdict against her comes just a month after the notable verdict against blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh.


Ten years in prison for famous bloggers

June 29

Internationally renowned Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, best known as Mother Mushroom, is sentenced to ten years in prison for propagating propaganda against the state. She is sentenced after a day’s trial and has 15 days to appeal. Quynh was arrested in October 2016 when she visited another activist in prison. 38-year-old Quynh started his blog in 2006 and writes about social injustices in Vietnam and about political and environmental problems.


A member of the Politburo is fired

May 7

Dinh La Thang, a member of the Communist Party’s decision-making body politburo, is dismissed for failing to serve as chairman of the board of the state energy company Petrovietnam between 2006 and 2011. incompetence.

Vietnam Labor Market