I recently returned from a short trip to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) in Vietnam and wow I must say, what a vibrant and exciting country of contrasts it is!
Despite its troubled past it’s certainly no longer a quiet insulated backwater and its key cities are growing fast. Gleaming sky scrapers tower above bustling streets bursting with international hotels, restaurants and shops and packed to the gills with motorised vehicles (of the 2 wheel variety for the most part!) International airlines, embassies and hospitals jockey for position to service the mushrooming local and expatriate and seriously “wired” society! Vietnam could be a fabulous place to live and work!
1. Living in Vietnam – Expect the unexpected!
Vietnam has been the setting for wars and foreign occupations for millennia and although the current peace is a blip in the country’s history, the people in HCMC are very welcoming, friendly, dynamic and optimistic. The country is relatively small, covering only 330,000 sq. km however it has beautiful countryside and beaches and rural landscapes which invite exploration. The place is steeped in history and culture and possesses a vibrant 24/7 “can do” attitude to trade and commerce. Vietnam offers a real taste of life in the East!
2. The Growing Economy
Despite Vietnam being one of the poorer countries in the APAC region, GDP continues to grow 5+ % year on year, attributable to the recovery in agriculture, forestry, construction and industrial sectors.
Due to the low unemployment rate (less than 3%), cheap labour and number of young workers, major western companies are relocating to Vietnam to capitalise on this and corresponding cheaper production costs. Due to the lack of skilled workers available in country, IT, construction, mining, manufacturing and tourism are the growth sectors offering the best expatriate opportunities today.
As tourism and the opening to global markets grows exponentially so does the demand for English language speaking and so TEFL teachers are also in high demand!
3. Cost of Living – Cheap as Chips!
Vietnam is becoming increasingly popular as an expatriate destination to live and work who are attracted by the comfortable lifestyle, low cost of living, safe environment, lively culture and the largely tropical climate. It can’t all be a fairy tale wedding and inner city pollution and deteriorating traffic conditions are also serious issues to consider.
HCMC is listed as 140th most expensive city in the world which sounds like a breath of fresh air when considering that I’m writing this sitting in Hong Kong which is listed a mere 137 places ahead!!
There’s a large choice of accommodation available to suit all budgets from high end apartments in the city to modest dwelling in the suburbs.
The price of local food and western food varies enormously and if you are happy to eat the plethora of wonderful fayre served at local bars and restaurants you will save yourself a fortune! Beer and spirits are cheap, wine is expensive!
Night view of the city from Bitexco Financial Tower" by Diego Delso.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
4. Construction & Development
Tower cranes grace the skyline and construction ever present in and around the big cities of Vietnam from HCMC in the south to Na Trang in the centre and Hanoi in the north.
Mega highway and rail infrastructure projects are either ongoing or in the pipeline, being predominantly funded by Direct Foreign Investment.
The Government is investing trillions of VND (1USD = approx. 20,000 VND) in loan packages for investors, contractors and construction material suppliers to create credit flow and speed up construction projects. There is also significant momentum to support social housing programmes.
5. Viet Kieu – They Want You!
"Viet Kieu" refers to Vietnamese people living outside of Vietnam, having emigrated. There are around 3 million overseas Vietnamese. The majority of these people left as refugees after the fall of Saigon and the takeover of the Communist regime in 1975.
Local and western construction, engineering and property companies, both established and start-ups, are desperate to hire returning Vietnamese engineers, managers and professionals who bring to the table a western education and out-look with best practice together with strong cultural roots a “can do” attitude and local language skills.
If you are a Viet Kieu or an expatriate and are interested to learn about exciting career opportunities in the Vietnam construction and property industry then please get in touch with me today on firstname.lastname@example.org