Employment for the elderly needs to become part of labor policy

For a long time, in society there has been the notion that the elderly need to rest and are not the subject of vocational training. Therefore, policies and regimes for elderly workers are lacking, even though many people still have the ability and desire to work and contribute.
In urban areas, it is necessary to equip the elderly with digital transformation skills, integration and adaptation skills if they are still able to work and have a need to work. (Photo: Quang Hung)
In urban areas, it is necessary to equip the elderly with digital transformation skills, integration and adaptation skills if they are still able and have a need to work. (Photo: Quang Hung)

There will be tens of millions of elderly people with desires for entrepreneurship, vocational training, and employment opportunities in the next decade, offering both significant challenges for society and an important workforce contributing to the country's economic growth.

In 2023, Vietnam has more than 16 million elderly people. According to a forecast by the General Statistics Office, by 2036, the country will officially enter the aging population phase, with over 21 million elderly people, accounting for 19.48% of the total population. Based on population data from the Ministry of Public Security, the aging process will end earlier, and Vietnam is expected to officially enter the phase in the early 2030s.

As per consolidated data from localities, as of 2023, Vietnam has over 7 million elderly people directly participating in labour and production activities. There are 221,000 senior citizens owning and operating production and business establishments across the nation.

Between 2010 and 2020, the average annual increase in the elderly workforce was about 160,000 people, equivalent to a rate of about 4%, which was more than twice the general employment growth rate of the country.

Statistical data also showed that 57% of old people in Vietnam do not receive pensions or social insurance benefits. The majority of the group has not enjoyed social security policies or has low incomes insufficient to cover their living expenses. Therefore, the need for work to generate income for themselves and their families is an issue of great concern.

Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Association of the Elderly Phan Van Hung said that the Party and State have issued many regulations and policies regarding entrepreneurship, vocational training, and employment for the group. However, most of these are still at the policy level and have yet to be specifically implemented or brought into daily life.

To support senior citizens in vocational training and career transition, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs submitted to the Prime Minister for approval of a national action programme on the elderly for 2021-2030. The programme aims to have at least 50% of elderly people with the need and ability to work securing jobs, and at least 20,000 elderly people supported in startup activities or vocational training between 2022 and 2025. The figures will be at least 70% and at least 30,000 people in the 2026-2030 period, respectively.

From the experience of many countries, it is evident that, first and foremost, there is a need to raise social awareness regarding vocational training, job creation, and career transition support for elderly workers. Following that, the establishment of a flexible and readily available support system related to these matters is crucial. It is also important to have accurate forecasting of vocational training needs and suitable industries.

These actions need to be taken promptly to prepare for the upcoming aging population era, stressed Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Vocational Training Pham Vu Quoc Binh.

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(Source: VNA)