Thai government employees struggle with debt, support higher graduate pay

Picture courtesy of EDUNEWS SIAM

A recent survey by the National Institute for Development Administration (NIDA) revealed that a significant number of government officials and state enterprise employees are burdened with debt. Moreover, the same group of respondents expressed their support for the government’s policy to set the starting monthly salary for bachelor’s degree graduates at 25,000 baht.

The NIDA Poll, carried out from September 19 to 21, involved phone interviews with 1,310 employees aged 18 and above working in government offices and state enterprises across the country. The survey sought their opinions on state officials’ salaries, covering a wide range of education levels and income brackets.

The survey showed that 44.81% of respondents found their salary, excluding legally gained extra payments, insufficient to cover both their expenses and savings. Meanwhile, 28.32% said their income was enough for both, while 26.87% said it only covered their expenses, leaving no room for saving.

On the question of debt, 44.35% admitted to borrowing from financial institutions, while 43.36% said they had taken loans from saving cooperatives. A smaller proportion, 3.66%, borrowed from informal lenders, including friends and relatives. The remaining 25.57% reported having no debts, reported Bangkok Post.

The proposal to divide payments for state officials into two monthly instalments met with significant opposition, with 71.30% completely disagreeing and 11.83% moderately disagreeing. On the other hand, 8.32% were in full agreement, with another 7.71% moderately agreeing. A mere 0.84% of respondents either had no opinion or were not interested in the matter.

Interestingly, 57.86% of respondents were in full agreement with the government’s policy to set the starting salary for bachelor’s degree graduates at 25,000 baht (US$695) per month, while 20.83% moderately agreed. However, 13.36% were in total disagreement, and 9.94% moderately disagreed. A negligible 0.46% either had no answer or showed no interest.

Four days ago, the financial discipline of Thailand’s teachers has come under scrutiny, with calls for strict regulations to curb inappropriate debt.

Narin Chamanadou, Director of Kanchanaphisek School and President of the Association of Secondary School Administrators in Thailand revealed that the country’s teachers collectively owe over 1.4 trillion baht. To read more click HERE.

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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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