Esoft’s transformation into a tech company also requires new skills at Esoft Vietnam, which employs more than 700 people. Danish values and a healthy working environment are Esoft’s trump card in the intensified battle for Vietnam’s tech talent.
Esoft Vietnam and its more than 700 local employees already play a key role in Esoft’s global production setup.
That role will only grow as AI takes over the less desirable, repetitive work, freeing up Esoft’s employees for other, more value-creating tasks – including in Vietnam.
This year alone, Thomas Frisenberg, CEO of Esoft Vietnam, expects to need 5-6 IT developers. In the long run, Esoft Vietnam will also most likely need AI and data analysis specialists as technological development drives Esoft Vietnam’s skill needs.
“We’ve already made a lot of improvements to our solutions,” Frisenberg says. “But if we are to keep making ground, we need the right people.”
Intensified Battle for Talent
However, the battle for talent has intensified in the Hanoi province, which has more than 15 million inhabitants.
In recent years, as wages in China and other places have risen and Vietnam’s universities have begun to churn out tech talent, the province has become an important hub in the global supply chain of the tech and manufacturing industries. On top of this, an increasing number of well-educated Vietnamese professionals who have studied abroad are choosing to return to Vietnam to forge their futures. According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, some 170,000 Vietnamese students were studying abroad in 2019.
Growth in foreign investment is doubling every year, and Hanoi province forecasts total exports of $11 billion in 2020 – a tenfold increase in six years, according to the financial media Bloomberg (read here).
Vietnam as a Tech Hub
Samsung is present in the province, as are other tech and IT giants like Canon, Intel and Foxconn. Most recently, Apple, along with several subcontractors already in the area, reportedly plans to establish their own production in the country.
“Vietnam has become a tech hub. We’ve become really strong in software development, and there is a huge demand for talent because more and more of the very big tech companies have established themselves in and around Hanoi,” explains Thomas Frisenberg.
“We need some of the same skills as the big tech giants. Fortunately, we’re really good at keeping our employees, but we’re certainly noticing that it’s become harder to get them in through the door.”
Danish Values and Working Environment
After many years in the country, Frisenberg believes Esoft has a great reputation in Vietnam. At the same time, the flat hierarchy, freedom with responsibility, and clearly defined career paths have contributed to Esoft Vietnam’s employee retention.
“We’ve worked really hard to be strong on CSR by, among other things, having a goal of 12 percent of our employees being people who have a physical disability. And it has been shown that this significantly benefits the working environment, as well as being really attractive, including for highly educated workers,” Frisenberg explains.
It is precisely these virtues that will continue to make Esoft competitive when it comes to attracting Vietnam’s sharpest minds amid fierce competition with Apple and the other tech giants.
“I think, with all due modesty, that we can offer working conditions and professional challenges that fully match those found elsewhere in Hanoi. Not least because we can combine this with healthy values and joint responsibility for making a mark on the exciting journey that Esoft is on,” Frisenberg concludes.