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Working For Multinational Companies in Thailand: Challenges And Opportunities

Are you the type of candidate that multinational companies are looking for? Which international organisations attract the best local talent?

Thailand’s labour market offers ample opportunities, but also challenges for both job-seekers and the multinational companies they aspire to work for. A handful of multinationals are overwhelmingly preferred by candidates due to their office culture, generous compensation & benefits, and career opportunities.

For candidates, competition is intense, and the bar is high: there is a wide skills gap between what international employers need and what most job seekers in Thailand have to offer.

Candidates who have skills in high demand can easily find work in Thailand's industrialised areas: Bangkok, the Eastern Seaboard, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Conversely, candidates who lack the requisite skills and qualifications will find it more difficult to find work with a multinational organisation.

Thailand Is Still Attractive To Foreign Investors

For multinational companies, Thai labour is relatively cheap. Compared to other developed countries in the region, Thailand is an attractive place to set up factories and manufacturing facilities. Many organisations in the tourism, service, and technology industries are thriving by leveraging Thailand's skilled workforce to support their regional and global operations.

The ease of doing business in Thailand has improved in recent years, with policies encouraging foreign direct investment, tax incentives, and streamlined regulations. However, multinational organisations need to be aware of labor laws, regulations, and cultural expectations in Thailand. Policies regarding working hours, annual leave, and holiday pay may be different from what European, Japanese, or American managers are accustomed to.

Like everywhere else in the world, companies that prioritise social responsibility, diversity, community support, and sustainability will attract the strongest candidates in Thailand.

These are my observations from more than 20 years working in human resources and as a recruitment consultant in Thailand, especially with multinational organisations. I hope these insights can give candidates a better understanding of what international companies are looking for, and give employers a better chance to attract ideal candidates.

Please keep in mind, these are generalisations, not hard-and-fast rules. They are honest observations from my personal experience with both candidates and employers.

What Qualifications Are Multinational Employers Looking For In Thailand?

The ideal candidate varies depending on the specific job and industry, but generally employers are looking for candidates who possess the following qualities:

·       Relevant education and work experience - Employers prefer candidates who have education and work experience that is relevant to the job they are hiring for. This shows that the candidate has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform well without much additional training or investment.

·       Strong work ethic - Employers place a high value on punctuality, dedication, and a willingness to work hard. Candidates who demonstrate a strong work ethic are highly sought after.

·       Good communication skills – Thai candidates who possess strong oral and written communication skills in English or a third language are highly valued. This is especially important for roles that involve working with customers, clients, or colleagues from different backgrounds.

·       Adaptability - Employers appreciate candidates who are flexible and can adapt to new environments and changes in the workplace. Being adaptable allows individuals to be more productive, innovative, and able to thrive in different scenarios.

·       Positive attitude - Employers look for candidates who are highly motivated, with a positive attitude. Candidates who have a positive attitude inspire other team members and boost morale.

·       Interpersonal skills - Candidates with strong interpersonal skills, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, resilience, time management, teamwork, conflict resolution, active listening, and an ability to persuade others are highly valued. These skills are especially desirable for customer service, sales, and management positions.

·       High-tech or industrial manufacturing skills and experience - Companies look for candidates who possess specific technical skills or industry experience that can benefit business operations.

·       Experience working for an international company, or overseas - Candidates who were educated overseas and/or who have previous experience working for an international organisation are prized assets in Thailand, and command higher salaries. They require less training, adapt more easily to the company culture, and effectively serve as liaisons between foreign management and local staff.

Which International Companies Attract The Best Local Thai Talent?

The most talented Thais prefer to work for multinational organisations that offer a positive office environment, competitive compensation, opportunities for personal growth and career development. The work-life balance proposition has become increasingly important. In addition, the best Thai candidates are drawn to organisations that have a good reputation, are socially responsible, and contribute to the community.

The ideal multinational organisations for candidates in Thailand possess the following qualities:

·       Strong Corporate Culture - Multinational organisations with a strong corporate culture rate highly for employee satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. These are companies that promote diversity, inclusion, and teamwork.

·       Good Compensation and Benefits - Competitive salaries, annual bonuses, health benefits, retirement plans, and paid holidays are essential to job satisfaction and employee retention in Thailand.

·       Career Growth Opportunities - Organisations that offer career advancement opportunities and training programmes will attract and retain the best Thai candidates. Ambitious employees relish the chance to learn new skills, grow their knowledge and experience. Opportunities to work overseas are especially attractive.

·       Work-life Balance – Quality of life is crucial for employees in Thailand. Multinational organisations that offer flexible working arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible hours, and parental leave enjoy high levels of employee satisfaction.

·       Social Responsibility and Community Support - Multinationals that contribute positively to the community are viewed more favourably in Thailand. Candidates tend to seek employment with companies that display social responsibility by giving back to the local community, and demonstrate environmental responsibility.

·       Work From Home (WFH) - In Thailand, WFH has become more common and increasingly popular since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses shifted to remote work models to ensure the health and safety of their employees. With the rise of technological advancements, WFH has become a viable and efficient option for many organisations. For employees, working from home provides more flexibility and eliminates the time, cost, and stress of commuting. For businesses, the transition to WFH may require additional investment in technology and resources. They must also create policies and guidelines to maintain productivity, staff morale, motivation and team-building.

JacksonGrant: Experience Finding The Right Candidate For The Right Organisation

As a recruitment consultant working with both job-seekers and employers,  I am routinely exposed to a high volume of candidates from all walks of life, and numerous multinational companies from around the globe looking for talent in Thailand. I work closely with hiring managers and HR departments to identify job vacancies, understand workforce needs, and develop recruitment strategies to find the best candidates.

I screen and vet potential candidates to create a shortlist, then arrange interviews or further assessment to evaluate their character and suitability for the position. My job is to ensure that both candidates and clients are happy: This is essential for a successful outcome, and sustainable business relationships. I am passionate about helping organisations find the right candidates, and helping candidates find the right jobs.

If your company is looking to hire overseas talent, or if you are interested to work for an international company with operations in Thailand, I’m happy to help. Please reach out via email: