Market Report: Vietnam

One of BMI's favourite recruitment markets due to its consistent, steady growth and strong economic forecasts.

Vietnam's economic strength

There are few countries in the world whose economic growth can compare to Vietnam’s. The nation boasts enviable, consistent growth rates which has attracted foreign direct investment, encouraged exports, and strengthened the country from within, spurring domestic demand and spawning a rising middle and upper class.

Learn more about the country’s robust growth below and contact us for help or advice when recruiting in Vietnam.

National currency

Historically, the Vietnamese Dong reached an all-time high of 23,360 in November of 2018 and a record low of 13,878 in February of 1999.

The corresponding chart tracks USD-VND values from March 2014 to March 2019. As of 1 March 2019:

1 USD = 23,196.66 VND
1 EUR = 26,389.18 VND
1 GBP = 30,669.45 VND
1 AUD = 16,423.54 VND
1 CAD = 17,471.74 VND
1 JPY = 207.33 VND
1 CNY = 3,458.89 VND

Vietnam's GDP growth rates

Vietnam’s economic growth over the past two decades has been steady and impressive, averaging 5.5% since 1990 and nearly 8% annually through the 1990’s.

The World Bank noted that between 1990 (USD 6.472 billion) and 2016 (USD 205.276 billion), Vietnam’s GDP grew by a whopping 3,303% making it the second-fastest growth rate worldwide, only surpassed by China.

  • Target of 6.6 – 6.8% GDP growth rate for 2019
  • 7.08% GDP growth rate in 2018
  • 6.8% GDP growth rate in 2017
  • 6.5% GDP growth rate in 2016

Average wages in Vietnam

GDP per capita

Vietnam took just 11 years (from 1995 to 2006) to double its per capita GDP from USD 1,300 to USD 2,600 (according to McKinsey & Co, 2014).

GDP per capita was USD 6,876 in 2017.

A joint report released in 2016 by the Vietnamese government and the World Bank suggested that Vietnam could achieve upper-middle income status by 2035 with per capita income of more than USD 7,000, which is in the range of what Malaysia or South Korea experienced in the mid-2000’s.

As of a 2016 report from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO), median wages sit just below 6 million VND a month.

Vietnam's rising middle and upper class

Vietnam’s middle class population – currently at 10% – is believed to be the fastest growing in Southeast Asia.

The middle class earning USD 714 a month or more in Vietnam will double to 33 million people, about a third of the population, between 2014 and 2020, according to Boston Consulting Group.

Meanwhile, market research firm Nielsen has estimated that the number of middle class Vietnamese will reach 44 million by 2020 and 95 million by 2030.

This would require Vietnam to grow at least 7% per year, raising the average income level to over USD 7,000 (or USD 18,000 in purchasing-power parity terms) by 2035 (compared with USD 2,052 – or USD 5,370 in PPP terms – in 2014).

The aforementioned report also noted that over the last decade, the number of millionaires in Vietnam has tripled. As of 2016, Vietnam boasts the world’s fastest growing percentage of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, which they define as those having a net worth of at least USD 30 million.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The ASEAN Economic Community was formally established in December 2015, and since then, McKinsey has reported that the ten member states have been moving toward greater economic and community integration on a number of fronts.

  • Those ten countries have a total population of more than 650 million people.
  • Their combined economies would currently rank as the 7th largest economy in the world, an economic footprint that is projected to grow to become the 4th largest in the world by 2050.
  • 67 million households in ASEAN states are part of the “consuming class,” with incomes exceeding the level at which they can begin to make significant discretionary purchases. That number could almost double to 125 million households by 2025, making ASEAN a pivotal consumer market of the future.

Business environment in Vietnam

The number of newly established enterprises in Vietnam in 2017 hit a record high of 126,859 and was up by 15.2% from 2016. The government aimed to boost this further, with a 2018 target of 135,000.

Private investment is projected to benefit from Vietnam having risen 14 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings for 2018.

Big business in Vietnam

According to McKinsey, the number of companies headquartered in country with more than USD 1 billion in revenue in 2010 was:

China: 674

France: 236

India: 158

Singapore: 64

Vietnam: 20

Foreign investments

According to the Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, over the past 30 years, foreign direct investment (FDI) has become an important part of the economy. FDI has:

Created 27% of the GDP

Accounted for 70% of export turnover

Contributed to 17% of the state budget

Generated employment for ~9 million local workers

Employment and industry in Vietnam

Agriculture

  • Fading as the most important economic sector in Vietnam.
  • Still employs almost half of the population and is highly labour-intensive in Vietnam; much ploughing is still done by water buffalo.
  • Agriculture is the main source of raw materials for the processing industries and a major contributor to exports (mining in the north and rubber plantations in the south).
  • Rice is the most important crop. Other major crops are sugarcane, cassava (manioc), corn (maize), sweet potatoes, nuts, banana, coconut, mango, jackfruit, citrus, coffee and tea.

Manufacturing

  • Manufacturing accounts for a mere 8% of all employment.
  • The output value of both manufacturing and services surpassed that of agriculture in the early 1990’s.

Services

  • By the early 21st century, services accounted for roughly one-fourth of total employment.

Growth needs of Vietnam

Growth till now

  • Growth has been driven by rising foreign direct investment, vigorous export growth, strengthening agriculture, and robust domestic demand.

Growth in the future

  • Closing the country’s widening skills gap is key to remaining attractive to foreign investors and sustaining growth.

 

The corresponding visual shows Vietnam’s top ten export categories in 2018, which may affect interest in study courses and post-study employment, given their importance to the country’s economic growth.

Additionally, in the service sector, demand is high for:

  • Scientific research
  • Design
  • Marketing and market research
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Telecommunications
  • Hospitality and tourism

Graduate salaries in Vietnam and Southeast Asia

A recent report from JobStreet revealed that the job market is bright for fresh university graduates, with wages growing year on year.

Recruiting in Vietnam

BMI runs more than 80 events in over a dozen countries each year. Join these events in Vietnam to recruit students directly via our fairs and attend our peer-to-peer events to build connections with high school counsellors and recruitment agents.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
High School Counselors

Pre-schedule meetings with secondary school principals and counsellors who represent the top bilingual, international and private schools from throughout Vietnam and act as important influencers who advise students and their parents on which countries, institutions and programmes abroad are the best match for them.

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Event Location
Date
Price
Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City
Meeting Table (for 1 rep)

Date

Price
USD 1,500
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Education Agents

This event is renowned throughout the region for attracting a wide range of high quality, vetted recruitment agencies from 12 countries across Asia. An important event for strengthening relationships with agents, it's also an easy one to add on to our other events in Vietnam.

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Event Location
Date
Price
Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City
Meeting Table (for 1 rep)

Date

Oct 08 - Oct 09

Price
USD 5,000
Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
International Students

BMI's biannual Vietnamese student recruitment fairs consistently draw in thousands of academically-oriented students and their parents to bring them in direct contact with institutions from around the world. BMI also takes a limited number of accredited institutions on chauffeured visits to top-rated private high schools in Hanoi and HCMC.

Learn more »
Event Location
Date
Price
Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City

Date

Oct 11 - Oct 12

Price
USD 4,200
Event Location

Hanoi

Date

Oct 13

Price
USD 2,700
Event Location

Da Nang

Date

Oct 14

Price
USD 2,400
Asia, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Parents

This event is endorsed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and gives K-12 providers an opportunity to meet parents who are sending their children to overseas boarding schools, high schools and short-term camps or programmes. Held over one weekend in Vietnam's biggest cities, the fairs form part of Vietnam International Education Week.

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Event Location
Date
Price
Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City (12/10/19) Hanoi (13/10/19)

Date

Oct 12 - Oct 13

Price
USD 5,000

Early bird rates end on Dec 06, 2019

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
International Students

BMI's biannual Vietnamese student recruitment fairs consistently draw in thousands of academically-oriented students and their parents to bring them in direct contact with institutions from around the world. BMI also takes a limited number of accredited institutions on chauffeured visits to top-rated private high schools in both cities.

Learn more »
Event Location
Date
Early Bird Price
Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City - Fairs in 2x High Schools

Date

Mar 12

Early Bird Price
USD 700

USD 800

Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City

Date

Mar 13 - Mar 14

Early Bird Price
USD 3,800

USD 4,200

Event Location

Hanoi

Date

Mar 15

Early Bird Price
USD 2,430

USD 2,700

Event Location

Hanoi - Fairs in 2x High Schools

Date

Mar 16 - Mar 17

Early Bird Price
USD 1,300

USD 1,500

Asia, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Parents

This event is endorsed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and gives K-12 providers an opportunity to meet parents who are sending their children to overseas boarding schools, high schools and short-term camps or programmes.

Learn more »
Event Location
Date
Early Bird Price
Event Location

Ho Chi Minh City (14/03/20) Hanoi (15/03/20)

Date

Mar 14 - Mar 15

Early Bird Price
USD 4,500

USD 5,000

Asia, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Education Agents, University International Office Directors

The BMI Agent Workshop Asia is a 2-day networking event for international educators who want to develop their agent relationships across South East Asia.

Learn more »
Event Location
Date
Early Bird Price
Event Location

Hanoi
Meeting Table (for 1 representative)

Date

Mar 18 - Mar 19

Price
USD 5,000