• Aida Xie

Rise above the tech talent shortage by hiring these two markets: Vietnam and Indonesia

With the demand in the Tech sector skyrocketing, companies have gotten into a jam about where to get affordable, yet skilled tech talent. With the pandemic shifting the workforce mainly remote, companies have started to look offshore to find these talents and to leverage lower manpower cost. In Southeast Asia, we have two interesting markets that stand out to meet such a demand, namely Vietnam and Indonesia. We are talking about two countries with significant populations at almost 100 million and 280 million respectively. Their sheer population coupled with their local governments support for tech and innovation, we see many new university graduates entering the tech workforce each year. Let's take a take a look at some common questions asked about tech talents in these markets.




English Proficiency


These days, English is mandatory in most schools in Vietnam, sometimes alongside French. English proficiency is now seen as a vital requirement for employment. Though English in schools are limited to reading and writing skills, it is still lacking in speaking & listening skills. As part of the strategy, officials have adopted the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to measure language competency. Students are expected to reach the level B1 by the time they graduate. The importance of promoting English in Vietnam is definitely growing due to its importance in the business world. Not to mention the influx of foreign nationals moving into Vietnam has significantly raised the proficiency level over the recent years. Indonesia on the other hand is the only country in South-east Asia that has not made English a compulsory subject at elementary level. According to data from English First (EF), an education institution that runs English courses all over the country, Indonesia is ranked a lowly 51 out of 88 countries in English proficiency, lagging far behind Singapore (3), the Philippines (14), Malaysia (22), and even Vietnam (41). At this point, you probably think that this is a point of concern, however in the tech scene, the situation is worlds apart with majority of the tech talent being able to communicate proficiently in English as they sharpen their technical skills with mainly English resources.



Affordability


The cost of living in Vietnam and Indonesia are still on the low side and because supply of technical talent is readily available due to a constant increase in the supply, a company in the US or in Singapore could potentially save up to 70% on each technical hire. As such, the demand for technical talents in these markets have shot up in recent years with Vietnam garnering greater popularity thus causing their salary bracket to be slightly hire of that in Indonesia. A mid-level developer may cost between USD $1500 to USD $2500 in Vietnam and USD $1000 to USD $1500 in Indonesia.



Technical Competency


When it comes to technical competency, the first thing is to understand some aspects of product development. If a developer is part of a development house that is constantly working on new or different projects for their clients, they are typically part of a larger team and may only focus on a particular section of the development process. Once a platform is built, they usually hand it over to the clients, and therefore the main objective for them is to build it out fast instead of scalable, then move on to the next project. The good thing is, these developers get to learn different kinds of tech stacks when working on numerous projects, but their experience is probably just scratching the surface.


If you like to hire a developer that has an all rounded experience and greater depth in specific tech stacks, it might be better to consider someone who was part of a company with a specific product and he/she has been with the team working on it for a decent amount of time.


The good news is, with Vietnam and Indonesia startup ecosystem exploding, there are many opportunities for developers to be working for product companies.



Culture


The Vietnamese and Indonesian people are a friendly and easy going bunch. The majority of them are non-confrontational, take the initiative most of the time and they are hardworking. They can easily assimilate into your distributed workforce and take your tech development to the next level.