The Importance of Developing Soft Skill Sets for the Employability of Business Graduates in Vietnam: A Field Study on Selected Business Employers

Thi Thu Hang Truong, Ronald S. Laura, Kylie Shaw


Vietnam has been one of the best performing economies in the world over the last decade (Nguyen et al., 2008; The World Bank, 2016). The process of Vietnam’s integration into the world economic market, along with the country’s advancements in industrialization and modernization, have increased demands to improve and augment the productivity of the work force. This being so, Vietnam is now at a crucial stage of its expansionary economic development, assimilating some 425,000 tertiary graduates into its workforce during the 2014-2015 academic year (TalkVietnam, 2015). The country is also faced with a momentous challenge to provide highly qualified personnel for the emerging modern sectors of the economy. A particularly serious problem is how the country’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will equip graduates with the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to meet the demands of rapidly increasing economic development. Our central objective in this paper is twofold: firstly, to critically examine and assess the scholarly literature on the technological importance of soft skills in the business arena. Second to conduct a field study on the perspectives held by employers on the specific character of variant combinatory sets of key soft skills best suited for maximising commercial outcomes for employers and the companies they serve in economically vibrant business regions worldwide. The concluding section of the paper will be concerned to determine the extent to which the various skill set combinations can be sufficiently pedagogically developed so they become embedded as foundational in the creation of an international business school curriculum.

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