Working Lives Vietnam

Working Lives Vietnam: Promotion girl

Huong works as a 'PG' or 'promotion girl', a job that is often ad hoc and temporary, promoting and selling new products in supermarkets and on Vietnam's city streets.

Although unskilled work, it is increasingly done by recent university graduates, who are now struggling to find good jobs in Vietnam.

Vietnam Direct graphic

At university Huong, 23, trained in hotel management but now can't find work in the sector.

Instead she found work in promotional sales. It pays reasonably when she actually works, equivalent to around $300 per month, but its temporary nature means Huong is often only working for half a month at a time.

The graduate comes from a small rural community 320 kilometers (200 miles) north east of Ho Chi Minh City, where her parents are labourers.

She is the first person from her family ever to go to university. She hoped her degree in hotel management would lead to a good job, but she has seen the job opportunities dry up.

"When I started studying this field, it was a very hot area for work," she says. "There was a shortage of staff. But when I finished my study, the economy was already plunging and the demand for this type of job is not there anymore."

It is a problem she has seen across her peer group.

"There were about 300 students with me during my university years. But now, maybe only one third of us are working in the areas that we studied."

Her parents want Huong to return home to the village far from the bustle of Ho Chi Minh, and she would enjoy an easier life there.

But there would be something important missing, she says.

"Anyone after graduation, we're the same, we want to stay on in this city and find a suitable job for us, to challenge ourselves."

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