Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vietnam - Opportunity most important factor for people to return to work in Vietnam

Editor’s note: Singaporean doctor Ong Kian Soon has talked with Tuoi Tre News about his thoughts on Vietnamese people working and studying overseas returning to work in their homeland.
His opinion was shared following the story of 29-year-old Vietnamese-born American doctor Tran Hoang Minh, who has opted to return to Vietnam and work in a low-paid public hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
Minh began his job in the emergency ward of Go Vap District Hospital last July.

Good time to return

To work overseas after studying or to come back to Vietnam to work is largely a personal decision. A lot depends on the opportunities that are available to the student at the time of graduation so it is different for everyone.

Nevertheless, I think now is a good time for Vietnamese working or studying overseas to come back to work because Vietnam seems to be at the early stage of exponential growth in the economy and industry.
In the long run, how one's career develops depends a lot on how the country and the economy progress and it helps to be in a country that is growing rapidly.

Unlike Vietnam, many places in the developed world have much worse growth prospects. Hence, I suspect that young people who are starting their careers today will find much more opportunity for a satisfying career in Vietnam versus other developed countries.

Patriotism and compassion are all valid factors but opportunity seems to me the most important of all for people to return to work here. Remuneration, while important, should never be the only consideration. Job satisfaction and opportunities for career advancement are also important considerations.

From the people I know who have come back to Vietnam to work, the opportunities available to them here far exceed the difficulties that they have faced while transitioning.

My Vietnamese wife has a Master’s in Healthcare Management and had worked in Singapore until recently when we moved to Ho Chi Minh City. Both of us were keen in the beginning to be in Vietnam. I am a Family Physician and my goal in coming to Vietnam was to develop the field of Family Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, I may have been more eager than my wife to be here.

I am sure difficulties will be faced by anyone when they move from one place to another to live or work. Most people will recognize that and I am sure most will take these difficulties in their stride.

There is also the issue of the cost of living. I think Vietnam's cost of living is very favorable compared with many other countries!

Most of my Singaporean friends who have studied overseas are required to return back to Singapore to serve national service or have contractual obligations to return by the companies or the government who provided the money for them to study. Hence, they have no choice but to return to serve their country. In a sense, Vietnamese students who study overseas are much luckier as they have a choice to return or not.

Improving education, healthcare to support people who are back

Among the most important concerns of people who live and work in Vietnam, education and healthcare remain near the top of the list. I am sure the people who previously lived and studied overseas and are used to levels of education and healthcare in developed countries will share these concerns.

Improving access to education and healthcare will go a long way to support people to return and contribute to the country.

Salary is another major incentive but at the moment the difference in salary between Vietnam and developed countries is too big. People who are attracted to a higher salary will never be interested in coming back to Vietnam. Those that do come back in spite of a far lower salary are a unique group of people and I feel that these are not the types that are primarily motivated by money alone.

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