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What to expect from Thailand’s employment market in 2018
With the Thailand 4.0 blueprint becoming a key driver of evolution towards a value economy, Thailand is set to become a centre of innovation and technology in South East Asia.
Alibaba has recently announced their strategic partnership with the Thai government in support of Thailand 4.0, which will bolster developments in e-commerce and digital talent. A “Smart Digital Hub” aimed at boosting regional and global trade will also allow the kingdom to access China’s large consumer base. All these point to a strong outlook for professional recruitment services in Thailand as the need for a more sophisticated workforce increases. Here are some of the key employment trends to look out for this year:
Key recruitment trends in Thailand for 2018
1. Eastern Economic Corridor to drive employment opportunities
Growth within the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) will be a major influence in 2018. With expected investments of over USD$43 billion over the next 5 years covering rail, road, air transport and ports around the country. The EEC will support and develop industrial estates in bio-technology, aviation, and IT. As a result, we expect a flourishing demand for talent with expertise in engineering and manufacturing.
2. Companies will strengthen digital capabilities
With Thailand 4.0, the country is going digital. Businesses will be keen to mobilise the benefits of artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) in production and management processes. Higher level professionals with skills in e-commerce, digital, software development and UI/UX design are highly sought after. This need for digital skills is observed across industries and levels of seniority in both domestic Thai as well as multinational firms.
We are seeing a shortage of qualified candidates in Thailand’s talent pool, due in part to a mismatch between university courses and market needs – but we expect this gap to be bridged gradually as the government realigns university curriculums.
3. Upsurge of quality Thai professionals
The transformative shift of providing high value services, technologies and start-ups have resulted in a significant upsurge of quality Thai professionals. There is an increasing emphasis on recruiting Thai professionals over expatriates, and locals are getting the first consideration for roles. In some cases, expatriate hires have been replaced with local ones.
However, international executives are still hired in certain circumstances where the right talent is not available in the Thailand market. This is usually when niche industries or specialist skills are required, but we also see companies doing this as part of succession planning so that new skills can be imparted to Thai nationals for stronger local management in the future.
4. Soft skills seen as competitive advantage
Thailand is usually a candidate-short market, and candidates are often secured quickly by companies who are hiring. Aside from job-specific qualifications, hiring managers are looking for candidates with strong presentation and communication skills that can point to a fit for leadership roles in large companies. Companies are also willing to offer competitive packages to Thai nationals who have been educated or worked overseas.
What do these trends mean for you?
Have questions about how specific hiring trends in your industry, or want to know how you can further your career? Download the Thailand Employment Outlook 2018, which covers industry specific insights such as roles in demand, salary increases to expect and the overall outlook for the year.