Santa Clara University


Company Specifics

Founded: 2002
Headquarters: 130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, HCM City
Ownership Structure: Corporation
Employees: 340
Product/Service: Online job placement agency.
Customers:  Job seekers of all skill levels in Vietnam, but mainly those focused on investment and skill technology positions.  Companies looking to hire skilled labor.



Mr. Chris Harvey, General Director, B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.



VietnamWorks was the first online job placement website serving Vietnam.  Jonah Levey, the current CEO of the company, founded the firm in 2002.  VietnamWorks partners with a number of well known corporations, such as Fujitsu, Nestle, AIG, and Intel.  The service is very similar to However, VietnamWorks cross posts in local newspapers as Vietnam still has a rapidly expanding print media.  VietnamWorks is by far the largest online recruiter in Vietnam with over five times the number of job seekers than its closest competitor.  It works with over 2500 employers and 850,000 job seekers.


Important Takeaways

Talent Deficit in Vietnam
The Vietnamese economy suffers a lack of experienced individuals able to fill middle management type positions.  One cause of this is the youth of the overall population, with a median age of only 26.9.  Expatriates currently fill many of these roles as Vietnamese companies wait for the current workforce to gain experience.  As this happens, Vietnam will most likely be the fastest growing market in online recruiting.  VietnamWorks must continue to innovate and place qualified candidates with top companies in Vietnam or risk losing its dominant market share .


How do you develop a start-up Internet company in a country with limited Internet access?
The initial development of VietnamWorks was incredibly time consuming and almost ended in failure.  A lot of grassroots work had to be done to convince companies to post job offerings online, considering the initial online job seeker base for VietnamWorks was non-existent and Vietnam had low Internet penetration.  To overcome this hurdle, VietnamWorks gave postings away for free to achieve a critical mass of open positions.  Top companies were eventually recruited to post jobs on the site, which in turn attracted 850,000 job seekers.  


Adapting to an Emerging Market
Mr. Harvey clearly enjoys working in a raw, emerging market.  For those who might be willing to take the plunge into the unknown, he has a few pieces of advice.  It is important to really immerse yourself in the culture.  Many of the expatriates we met spoke only English, or their native language and English.  Mr. Harvey, however, is actively learning Vietnamese.  Participating in the local culture will garner respect from the locals.  One quote stood out from Mr. Harvey, “You don’t know what you don’t know, so be open.”  The differences in cultures can be very disorientating at times. The opportunity exists to learn from this diversity, which teaches one to communicate better and thrive in a new environment.


Posted by: B. Lewis

Our host answering a question from the class


Local workers in front of the Vietnamworks building
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