Duc Giang Chemical & Detergent Powder JSC is a leading chemical manufacturer. A detergent factory of Duc Giang, it once employed 100 workers, but now runs with 10-15 workers.
Three months ago, Oxford University released a report on robots taking over human jobs. One month ago, a factory in Binh Duong province laid off 90 percent of its workers because the majority of work can be undertaken by robots.
The workers in the 340 IZs in Vietnam are increasingly worried about their jobs.
Huyen said at a workshop about the 4.0 industrial revolution held in mid-August that the risk of replacing humans with robots is real in Vietnam.
In Duc Giang, robots are now present in many links of the production chain. The concept of running a factory with just several workers is now more widely known.
Huyen said that Vietnam is capable of catching up with the 4.0 industrial revolution’s pace, because Vietnamese engineers “now are very sensitive to new things, eager to learn and can quickly adapt to new circumstances”.
With the presence of robots, a new generation of workers will appear. “I think in the future, our company will have a few hundred workers with an automated office,” he said.
“Around 300 out of every 1,600 workers have lost jobs,” Huyen said. “Where will the workers go after they quit?”
In theory, the workers can apply at enterprises with weaker financial capability which cannot buy robots and need workers in their production chains. However, the enterprises are mostly small and do not have high worker demand.
“It is necessary to retrain workers. If we can do it the right way, difficulties will still exist, but we will not be confused about what to do,” said Tran Dinh Thien, head of the Vietnam Economics Institute.
A recent survey found that Vietnamese businesses believe the country should focus on business fields in which it has strong advantages in the 4.0 industrial revolution – IT (89.9 percent), tourism (45.7 percent), agriculture (44.9 percent), finance & banking (47 percent) and logistics (28.3 percent).