The future of Thai workforce: Embracing flex work and employee experiences

Image courtesy of Bangkok Post

Despite facing economic uncertainties, nearly 60% of global executives anticipate their businesses to achieve stable or significant growth. Asian leaders, however, express concerns about the rising cost of capital and debt, labour market tightness, and competition for talent when planning for the upcoming year.

In the Global Talent Trends (GTT) Study 2023 by Mercer, human resources leaders in Thailand shared similar concerns. The study surveyed around 2,500 HR leaders worldwide, with nearly 100 companies in Thailand being represented. Among the issues highlighted were a lack of workforce capability and future skills (47%), too many priorities distracting employees (40%), and juggling transformation with a survival mindset (38%).

The survey aims to discover how organisations are redefining work and the workplace amidst sociopolitical and economic shifts and to identify talent-related trends to help businesses thrive in the future.

Findings from the survey suggest it is crucial for employers in Thailand to focus on enabling new ways of working and fostering a skills-based organisation to attract the right talent. A collaborative approach that offers flexible work arrangements and competitive rewards is recommended.

According to the survey, 69% of employees believe the inability to work remotely or in a hybrid setting permanently would deter them from joining or remaining with an organisation. In Thailand, 61% of surveyed employers provide flexible working options for all employees, which is higher than Asia’s average (50%) and the global average (56%). However, there is room for improvement to ensure that all companies recognise the importance of work flexibility for talent attraction and retention.

To mitigate the effects of inflation, more employers in Thailand (27%) adjusted pay or offered cost-of-living adjustments for employees paid below the market median, compared to the Asia average of 20%. In terms of providing cost-of-living adjustments or wage increases for badly affected segments, Thai employers surpass the Asia average (33% versus an Asia average of 22%). This approach offers organisations a more sustainable compensation management method.

To attract and retain talent, organisations must do more than merely offer fair pay policies. They must also prioritise employee well-being, encompassing physical, mental, social, and financial aspects.

Over 90% of Thai employers are concentrating on improving employee engagement through benefits offerings in 2023, according to Mercer. For example, 48% plan to expand benefits to support all workforce segments this year, higher than Asia’s average of 40%. However, securing job stability for gig workers remains less of a priority, with 46% of respondents in Thailand and Asia indicating no plans to address this issue.

In contrast, Thai employers fall behind the rest of Asia in supporting employees’ mental well-being. Only 13% provide crisis management support following a traumatic event, compared to the Asia average of 21%. Similarly, just 23% offer on-demand access to virtual mental health providers, falling short of the Asia average of 26%.

Thai employers have also experienced difficulties establishing a skills-based organisation. While 60% have a comprehensive understanding of their organisation’s talent requirements (versus Asia’s average of 56%), HR leaders have not sufficiently developed and deployed their talent.

Approximately 30% of companies have an internal talent marketplace to foster talent sharing, compared to Asia’s 40%, and merely 33% encourage employees to undertake training based on job and skill aspirations, versus the Asia average of 60%.

The use of tools and technology to measure and assess skills is lacking in Thailand when compared with the rest of Asia. Only 22% of Thai employers use AI-driven talent intelligence platforms (compared to the Asia average of 41%), while 43% use psychometric tools to gauge potential (versus the Asia average of 53%).

Juckchai Boonyawat, president of Mercer Thailand, stated, “It is heartening to see a growing trend of employers in Thailand exploring and implementing new ways of working that address employees’ evolving needs. Various types of flexible work models have been adopted in many organisations.”

Boonyawat added, “However, this is just one piece of a puzzle, and we urge employers to prioritise overall employee experiences by reducing employee exhaustion and redesigning work with well-being in mind for a start. Leaders should also take proactive steps to safeguard the employability of their workforce by investing in their development, upskilling and reskilling their talent, and using technology while doing so”, reports Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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