Theo, a member of the Telecom & Mamagement SudParis, made such a reference after a three-month internship at a French group’s office in Ho Chi Minh City.
“The working environment in Vietnam is friendly and has less pressure than in Western countries. Most Vietnamese companies have given support to young people and I have been assigned tasks that would be not given to me if I were in France,” said.
Jonah Wagner, an American graduate student who has been interning in HCMC under a cooperation program between the Harvard Business School and the Vinagame Group (VNG), said, “Contrary to my thinking, the working environment at VNG, where all staffs are Vietnamese, is very comfortable and dynamic.”
Another American graduate student, Theodore Chestnut, who is also involved in the same program, said, “I find that Vietnam has taken a big leap of development recently. Many young people here are fluent in foreign languages.”
According to the High Quality Human Resource Consultancy and Training Center, the number of Japanese students coming to Vietnam for on-the-job training or learning about working environments is on the rise.
Tomohiro Nakayama, from Japan’s Kyoto Academy, said, “Vietnam is an emerging market and a very attractive destination to young Japanese workers. I have intended to work for a company in Japan, but I wanted to come to Vietnam to learn about the labour market there.”
A student from Japan’s Meiji University, Ishida Tatsuya, said his internship assignment in Vietnam has taught him many things. “I have worked with many Vietnamese people. They are very hard working, ambitious and have a great love for their country.”
Tatsuya said he would return to Vietnam for work in the future. However, a number of expatriates also said there remained some issues that have affected the relationship between foreigners and Vietnamese at workplaces.
“Some Vietnamese often keep silent in meetings and this can be embarrassing and very puzzling for us,” Theo said.
Sharing the same opinion, Sylvain Pierre, who has spent 6 years as a manager at Officience, a French provider of business performance services, said, “I have managed a group of 50 workers, most of whom are Vietnamese and are hard working. When there is any problem arising at work, I think they should contact their superiors to resolve the problem, rather than enduring the problem and then suddenly submitting their letter of resignation.”
Vincent Ha Duong, managing director of Officience, said, "Vietnam has many advantages to attract more foreign workers with high qualifications, since it is among fast-developing countries and has a young population."
Maria N., a manager of an American cosmetic group’s company in Vietnam, said, “I have noticed that some Vietnamese staff went out for a coffee or beer during their work hours. Somebody advised me to accept this as it is a specific characteristic of Vietnamese culture.”
Tatsuya said he was very surprised to find his Vietnamese colleagues speaking loudly in their office. “I have never witnessed such a practice in Japan, since everybody focuses on their work and avoids disturbing others during work.”
Meanwhile, Donald Deasy, an engineer from the UK, with 12 years of work experience in the IT industry in Scotland, said that it was difficult to obtain a work permit in Vietnam.
“I do not know where I can get information about the culture and living conditions in Vietnam. I also want to get some consultancy about issues related to the income of native and foreign workers. This is a kind of assistance that many neighbouring countries of Vietnam have done very well.”