The hidden struggle of Thailand’s overlooked workforce

Photo courtesy of Pattaya Mail

Thailand’s National Statistical Office (NSO) Director, Piyanut Wuthison, has exposed the stark reality of the nation’s labour force where 21 million workers in the informal sector constitute a staggering 52.3% of Thailand‘s workforce.

“Our annual survey sheds light on the silent warriors of the informal labour sector, a staggering 21 million strong. These workers, often grappling with irregular hours and wages, find themselves on the fringes of legal protection.”

As per this year’s revelations, a striking divide prevails, with 47.7% – or 19.1 million – standing in the formal sector, while the other half navigates the precarious terrain of the informal sector.

The survey exposes a demographic truth bomb: a whopping 50% of informal workers are aged between 40 and 59, silently shouldering the burden of the nation’s economy.

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Amongst the overall workforce, an astonishing 5.1 million warriors are over 60, and shockingly, 4.4 million of them find themselves battling in the trenches of the informal sector.

Education emerges as a significant factor, with the majority of informal workers holding only a primary level qualification, a stark reminder of the uneven playing field they tread.

But the shocker comes when we unravel the layers of employment sectors – a staggering 55.4% of informal workers are entrenched in the unforgiving agricultural sector, scraping by on incomes nearly half of their formal sector counterparts, reported Bangkok Post.

Zooming in on their struggles, the survey highlights that 28% of these unsung heroes grapple with issues like wages, employment continuity, and the ominous spectre of overwork.

NSO Director Piyanut reiterated:

“It’s crystal clear – these workers need the lifeline of a social security system for a shot at a better quality of life and a sustainable livelihood.”

In related news, Sombat Boongamanong, also known as Polka Dot, has shed light on the life journey of Dr Keng, a scholarship student who, after completing her PhD in England, returned to work as a Thai university lecturer. However, she fell ill and was asked to resign by the university management, leading to a lawsuit seeking over 10 million baht. Read more about this story 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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