Tech talent focus: Why Vietnam’s tech talent is the most sought after in Southeast Asia

Renald Loh
Renald Loh
July 5, 2022

Telltale signs of an economic downturn are emerging.

In recent weeks, several big names in tech have either begun laying off a substantial portion of their employees or halting initial hiring plans, citing market volatility and increasing interest rates among their concerns.

This tumultuous period is certainly consequential for startups in Southeast Asia, as the rippling effect of the global economy makes its way across the region.

With a decline of venture capital investments, more founders are expected to engage in budget cuts and company restructuring to conserve cash. Singapore alone has seen more than 2,600 layoffs.

More than ever, it is crucial for founders to make astute recruitment decisions to ensure their companies emerge from a potential recession in a stronger position than before.

Businesses nonetheless need to rely on the capabilities of their tech talent to maintain steady operations. So how can startups adjust their HR strategies to save cost, while still ensuring they have the right tech talent to scale?

Building a future-proof team

According to Harvard Business Review, mass layoffs are not the best way to cut costs, contrary to popular belief. In addition to severance packages, re-hiring and re-training personnel in key positions can be expensive.

The best way for companies to brace the storm is to invest in affordable, future-proof tech teams without compromising on quality.

For the past decade, companies around the world have opened their eyes to the fact that Southeast Asia is a golden goose of affordable tech talent. Not only is there a large workforce to tap on (SEA’s median age is 30.2 years), large tech firms like Google, Microsoft, and Huawei have invested heavily in the region’s human capital in recent years. That’s why many businesses have seen remote hiring in developing markets — where its tech talent are equally as proficient —  to be a viable, economical alternative.

One such market is Vietnam.

A report from 2020 showed that 43.8% of Vietnam’s engineers worked for companies that outsourced their tech development. Furthermore, these tech talent are increasingly preferring to work for foreign companies as opposed to local ones, due to higher salary packages and less hierarchical structures.

In this article, we take a deep dive into the tech talent pool in Vietnam to show you why Vietnamese tech talent are amongst the most sought-after internationally, and how hiring tech talent in Vietnam can help your business grow economically amidst uncertainty.

Related: These Are Greater Southeast Asia’s Top 3 Emerging Markets to Find Startup Tech Talent

Expertise in blockchain, AI, and data science

The growth of Web 3.0 — which refers to development of decentralized applications with blockchain technology — has been immense in the past five years. The Vietnam government is keen on grasping the opportunity to establish itself as a regional leader in this space, pushing out a host of initiatives designed to support blockchain-based startups.

At present, the country ranks #1 out of 154 nations in the Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index (leaps and bounds above US, China, and other European powerhouses), indicating its people’s considerable degree of tech-savviness. A multitude of local universities have also started offering courses that specialize in blockchain development.

Considering the accessible nature of open-source codes for budding developers to experiment with, Vietnam’s vibrant community of capable blockchain enthusiasts will only continue to grow.

The AI sector in Vietnam has also matured substantially. The Vietnamese government recently announced a national policy for AI research, development, and application that will last until 2030, with the goal of gradually transforming Vietnam into a global innovation and AI hub. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s finance, real estate, healthcare and marketing industries have all embraced the adoption of data science, and Vietnamese students are increasingly interested in entering the field.


Looking to build your first remote team in Vietnam? Glints can help match you with skilled tech talent quickly and affordably. Visit our website to find out more about our talent solutions.


Productive, hardworking, and enterprising employees

Every year, Vietnam produces approximately 80,000 IT university graduates that are hungry for a well-paying job in the tech space.

There is a reason why Vietnam is the fifth most attractive country for regional business services in Asia. Vietnam’s workforce productivity has consistently increased year-on-year from VND78.9 million per employee to 117.4 million in 2020 — reflecting the growth of human capital in the continent’s 8th most populous country.

In terms of character, the consensus is that Vietnamese employees are very much ideal to work with. A 2019 study assessing the ‘Big Five’ personality traits in Southeast Asia finds Vietnamese to be highly conscientious, dutiful and responsible in their work.

“We were able to develop our app and develop technologies to enhance our software to adapt to our operational needs; these are very important aspects. Even for additional aspects such as blockchain, some of the talent have that additional knowledge to help explore future strategy and plans.”

Additionally, trustworthiness is an especially important feature in Vietnam’s business culture, so you can count on them to deliver on their promises.

Proficiency in English allows for easier integration

Companies often cite concerns in communication barriers when deciding on whether or not to hire remote talent. According to the EF English Proficiency Index 2021, students from Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi scored above the Asian average, with the country ranking fourth overall  compared to their Southeast Asian counterparts (behind only Singapore, Philippines, and Malaysia).

One of the region’s most affordable tech talent

The right tech talent are not only hard to find — they are also expensive. Developers and engineers command higher salaries and are becoming more subjective when picking jobs that offer them the best package. Moreover, with the pandemic accelerating the adoption of remote work, the best tech talent quite literally have the world’s job market as their oyster.

Vietnam’s tech talent are considerably more affordable. Junior data scientists command a base salary of US$1,000 to US$2,000, while those with more experience earn up to US$5,000. Meanwhile, developers and engineers draw between the ranges of US$600 to US$3,500 depending on their seniority. For comparison, a full-stack developer from Singapore is paid around four times that — at anywhere from US$13,500 to $15,000.

Related: The Southeast Asia Tech Talent Compensation Report 2021

While the initial decision to hire remote tech talent can be a daunting one for many founders, the pros often outweigh the cons. According to Global Workplace Analytics, firms can save over $11,000 per employee each year by hiring remotely — with lower office space costs, lower turnover rates, and an overall increase in productivity.


Looking to build your first remote team in Vietnam? Glints can help match you with skilled tech talent quickly and affordably. Visit our website to find out more about our talent solutions.


Hire anyone, anywhere in Southeast Asia. Start your remote hiring journey with us.

This article is brought to you by Glints TalentHub. Leading companies are actively building their borderless teams in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and beyond. However, the prospect of going borderless can be daunting due to complex regulations and cultural ambiguities. With Glints TalentHub, you’ll have a dedicated team of in-market legal, HR, and talent experts by your side at every step of the way.

Glints TalentHub offers an end-to-end, tech-enabled talent solution that encompasses talent acquisition, EOR, and talent development. We empower businesses to leverage the strengths of regional talent efficiently to build high-performing, cost-efficient teams.

Schedule a no-obligation consultation with our experts to receive a tailored proposal today. 

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