Working in Vietnam: What to expect |

Working in Vietnam: What to expect

If you’re new to working in Vietnam you'll need to understand the way business is done. You'll have to learn as you go along...

Posted on

9 June 2014

Last updated on 29 June 2017
Working in Vietnam: What to expect

If you’re planning on working in Vietnam it is important to understand the way in which business is done. There are a lot of ‘under-the-table’ deals and bribery is rife, unfortunately you will have to learn the tricks of the trade in order to successfully start your business. The ministers might need buttering up in order to process paperwork and get things off the ground.

Vietnamese companies place a lot of importance on hierarchy. Usually the oldest person in the company is the decision maker. It is important to show respect to those who are older than you and to show interest in their personal lives in order to establish certain closeness. The concept of face is very important and it is easy to lose face if you make one bad decision. Face is built up with age, education and family.

Working in Vietnam

While the work force in Vietnam is mainly male dominated with women occupying only lower-status positions, in international companies men and women work side by side on a more equal basis. Hence if an expat woman wants to work in Vietnam, she should have her wits about her, as the Vietnamese are not yet used to seeing women in power roles in business.

In order to work in Vietnam as an expat you have to fulfill certain requirements. Your employer will have to arrange your relocation and paperwork for you in order for you to become an expat in Vietnam. In order to work in Vietnam you have to be at least 18 years old, be fit to do the job assigned to you and bring at least 5 years’ experience.

The best paid westerners usually work for international organisations, and these positions are usually secured before coming into the country. Many others work as teachers, teaching English as a foreign language, as it is the most popular language amongst Vietnamese students. Many foreigners come to Vietnam on tourist or business visas and look for work while they are here. One of the best websites to look for work is