Vietnam’s target to have 2%-5% of ministers and provincial chiefs being talented from 2026 too little and too late?

Vietnam is aiming to attract more talent to the government.

Vietnam’s communist regime has set a target saying after 5 more years, from 2026-2030, talented people will account for at least 2-5% of the leadership positions of ministries, ministerial-level agencies, governments of provinces, and centrally-run cities in Vietnam.

It was part of a number of proposals made by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the draft “National Strategy to attract and use talents” which was reported by the state-controlled media such as Thanh Nien, Nguoi Lao Dong, and VietnamNet recently.

The draft strategy states that the attraction and appreciation of talents will aim at regardless of whether talents are party members or non-members of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Vietnamese people in the country or abroad, ensuring equal opportunities for talented people to dedicate themselves and be rewarded with the results of implementing the tasks, the reports cited the draft.

Still according to the three newspapers, the draft strategy to attract talents focuses on some so-called spearhead areas such as management at the state level, science, high technology, education, health, and biotechnology.

The draft set out a goal that from 2030 onwards, ministries and provincial governments strive to increase at least 1% of talent or more each year in the leadership and management structure of ministries and provinces.

After news of the draft was published by the local press, during the weekend, many social media users in Vietnam received the content with sarcastic comments, saying that at present, leaders at the ministerial and provincial level are not talented people, so the country is underdeveloped.

Some people raised the question of why not set a higher goal, that at least 40-50% of the leaders at the ministerial and provincial level are the talent, instead of 2-5%.

Meanwhile, Professor Dang Hung Vo, a former deputy minister; and Professor Tran Duc Canh, a Vietnamese American with 46 years of experience in human resource training and development, welcomed the draft of the Ministry of Home Affairs, seeing it as a positive sign, later than not.

Professor Canh said: “This is a good sign, positive, epochal, is the reality of today’s society, in order to develop the country, there must be many participants, especially good people. It is best to choose people who are competent in each field or as a whole to play leadership at a large scale or within the profession, at the local level or up to the national level.”

Mr. Canh, who has worked for decades for prestigious Harvard and state governments in the US, noted that a rigid percentage should not be set on attracting and recruiting talented people.

Former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dang Hung Vo told VOA that since 2013, after hearing the advice from the World Bank, the Vietnamese government has become aware of the need to change institutions and growth patterns relying on high-quality human resources and technology, instead of relying on public investment and resources.

Now, the Ministry of Home Affairs concretizing an existing policy is a good expression, Mr. Vo commented. He added:

The idea of ​​using talents and high-quality human resources in Vietnam has been around for a long time. But the implementation is not very good, not very successful. Now the Ministry of the Interior reiterates, re-emphasizing the policy of taking high-quality human resources, using talents as the motivation for growth, in the right direction, a path like other countries that have succeeded, such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore.”

In the current Vietnamese political structure, leaders at all levels must be party members and take theoretical classes of the Communist Party.

However, Mr. Vo thinks that attracting talents is even more difficult now than about 10-15 years ago because running for power is getting worse and worse, creating a trend towards a friendly institution. There are even cases where officials with defects are appointed to higher positions, leading to negative sentiment and suspicions on the part of the people. He illustrated:

There is a saying that the senior leaders of Vietnam have mentioned: ‘First relations, second money, third descendants, wisdom fourth.’. This means that the person with the intelligence to be reminded is ranked fourth. This is the most difficult point that needs to be overcome. In other words, we must be absolutely against corruption, against friendly ways, against princelings, etc., then we can choose the true talent.”

After many years of consulting and supporting educational programs in Vietnam, Professor Tran Duc Canh commented to VOA that the state mechanism in Vietnam still has many constraints and limitations that he calls “delicate.”

According to this overseas Vietnamese professor, the state apparatus of Vietnam needs to be more open, in the long run, it must attract talents with an “ecosystem” of the workplace, promotion opportunities, rewards, and salary.

Mr. Canh said that under the current conditions, Vietnam could not do it right away, but when Vietnam sets the right policy, in the right direction to attract talent, it will lead to the right destination. He added:

If the whole social and political system unifies in that direction, then we should push it. In fact, there are many talents in the country, plus a workforce working abroad, living in a foreign country, if possible, have the ability to contribute greatly to the jobs, specializations, and specialties.”

According to Professor Dang Hung Vo, factors to ensure successful talent attraction are that the state must adopt a good public governance system, including openness and transparency; people are allowed to participate; agencies must have the responsibility to explain the selection and recruitment of staff; must be quantitative in terms of recruitment criteria, not qualitative.

Citing the draft of the strategy to attract talents prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs and being consulted, domestic newspapers said that it is expected that there are 3 groups of factors to be used as a basis for finding talents.

Firstly, there are good management leaders, leading scientists, excellent experts, talented young scientists.

Second, for cadres, civil servants, public employees, talented people are determined according to the direction based on the product, the results of the performance of the work, the assigned tasks; special and outstanding qualifications, abilities, and creativity.

Finally, a series of IQ smart indicators, emotional EQ, social intelligence SQ, creative intelligence CQ, PQ passion index, MQ morality index, etc. will also be used to identify talents. (Translated)


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