Migrant workers fill gap in Thailand’s tourism and service sectors due to labour shortage

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Migrant workers are increasingly filling roles in Thailand‘s tourism and service sectors, due to a chronic manpower shortage, according to Tanit Sorat, deputy chairman of the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT). The labour shortage is the result of new Thai graduates choosing freelance jobs and the country’s ageing population.

Sorat explained that with many graduates preferring a slower lifestyle over full-time positions, employers have to rely on workers from neighbouring countries. It is estimated that Thailand is facing a shortage of around 500,000 skilled and unskilled workers, particularly in the tourism and service sectors.

The number of new graduates has also been declining as Thailand moves towards being an ageing society. Additionally, workers who quit their jobs during the pandemic and returned to their hometowns have not returned to the labour market.

This labour shortage is occurring despite signs of a global economic slowdown. Thailand’s exports in the first quarter of this year were less than usual due to economic downturns in the US, the EU, and China. Sorat, who is also the president of V-serve Group, a major logistics provider, noted that a decline in cargo containers used in the past months was a clear indicator of shrinking exports, which are forecast to be -1% to 3% this year when compared to the previous year. He said…

“The US economy and that of the EU, which are Thailand’s two main export markets, are suffering inflation which continues prompting them to raise interest rates which adversely suppresses the buying power at the global level.”

The ECOT is keeping a close eye on political parties’ policies concerning wage increases, expecting the promised wage hikes to be implemented towards the end of this year. However, the ECOT hopes the new government will understand that any changes in wage rates must be approved by a tripartite wage committee made up of employers, employees and government representatives.

Sorat expressed concerns about election campaign policies missing out on measures ensuring sustainability for Thailand’s economy in the long run. Continuous focus on budget spending to fund policies may lead to increased taxes, which could be detrimental to the Thai economy.

Economy NewsNewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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