HANOI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam needs approximately 1 million information technology (IT) workers by 2020, according to the national workforce master plan on Tuesday.

The country is facing a serious shortage of high-quality IT workers, which poses challenges to the country as digitalization, the fourth scientific revolution, is taking place worldwide.

According to a popular local recruitment website Vietnamworks, the demand for IT workers increases 47 percent annually but Vietnam meets only eight percent of demand.

Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Information and Communications' Information Technology Department, said Vietnamese students can quickly grasp IT but lack soft skills and teamwork ability.

Most software companies are small and medium sized without professional marketing staff so products are often distributed via foreign partners, Tuyen said.

A survey of more than 50 IT firms carried out by the Hanoi University of Science and Technology's Faculty of IT showed that some 70 percent of IT graduates had good grades. However, in reality, the IT workforce is weak in English proficiency, self-study and negotiation skills.

Those who are fully equipped with the above skills tend to work for foreign enterprises, leading to the manpower scarcity for domestic firms, Vietnam's state-run news agency VNA quoted the survey as saying.

To improve the IT workforce, Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha suggested rallying public involvement in IT and English training.

Meanwhile, vice president of the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association Mai Duy Quang proposed connecting IT firms with educational establishments, holding more conferences and seminars to aid students.

In 2014, Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications issued a circular on standardizing IT education, with an aim to train generations of quality IT staff.