Vietnam: Salaries of state officers equal to that of unskilled workers

Carrying out wage reform is one of the urgent solutions National Assembly Deputy Ta Thi Yen has proposed to retain staff amid the mass departure of state officers for the private sector.

Deputy Head of the National Assembly Standing Committee’s Board for Deputy Affairs Ta Thi Yen told VietNamNet that it is regrettable that state officers, especially those in the healthcare and educational sectors, have left for the private sector.

“With the aspiration for development and with people put at the center of service, the demand for high-quality human resources, including in the fields of healthcare and education, is becoming more urgent than ever,” Yen said.

When the working environment and working capacity are better, the capacity to contribute to society will also be better.

“Labor mobility also has positive factors, which, in line with the market mechanism, can create healthy competitiveness between the private and public sectors in attracting talents with labor and wage policies,” Yen said.

Why are state officers leaving the public sector for the private sector?

I think the major problem lies in the unreasonable wages of the public sector which are not high enough to cover people’s basic needs. Meanwhile, workers in the public sector bear pressure. The levels of remuneration are not reasonable, especially in recent months, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, for officers in the healthcare and education sectors.

Meanwhile, workers in the private sector have a better working environment. Employers in private sectors are ready to recruit experienced workers who have many years of experience in the public sector with much more attractive salaries, training and promotion opportunities.

“It is no use preaching to a hungry man”. What are your comments about the salary of VND10 million offered to state officers with certain working experience?

This is not a high salary level. It is just equal to pay offered to unskilled workers in the private sector. The salary is very low if calculating expenses on basic needs, children’s study, motorbikes to travel, healthcare services and accommodations.

Some experts calculate that a family with monthly income of VND20 million would need 20 years to pay debts they borrow to buy a 70 sqm apartment with the price of VND1.5 billion (VND20 million per sqm), if they use 50 percent of income to pay debts and the bank loan interest rate is 10 percent per annum as currently seen.

But why do many people still want to work in the public sector, and even accept bribes to obtain jobs at state agencies?

I think that these are impure motives of some people. They believe that once they get jobs at state agencies, they will have a stable mainstay as lifetime personnel. Some people want to work in the public sector to get advancement in their career.

They think that once they work at state agencies, no one can dismiss them, even if they don’t want to work and don’t work well. They can easily establish relations with high-ranking officials and have free time to do their private work that brings money.

This is why many people still want to work for state agencies though they know the salaries are low.

The other reason is that some people have low qualifications and cannot work in the private sector. The workers just want to have leisure jobs which allow them to “take umbrellas to the office in the morning and bring umbrellas back home in the afternoon”.

However, I am sure that there are many people who want to work for state agencies because they really want to devote themselves to the country and people, and continue the tradition of their families.

Wage reform is mentioned in the 27th Resolution of the 12th Party Central Committee. However, reform has been delayed over two years because of Covid-19. Do you think now is the right time to implement the plan?

Wage reform is a very important thing, so it needs to be done as soon as possible.

To ensure efficiency of reform, the increases of salaries need to be associated with apparatus streamlining and improvement in the quality of service.

It is also necessary to refer to the way of calculating and paying salaries used by the private sector, such as KPI consideration and effective management models.

Thu Hang