2021 saw a reduced impact on Thailand’s hiring market compared to 2020, with the majority of companies having resumed hiring. Despite work-from-home arrangements, companies in Thailand were less frantic than the year before, as the world steadily heads towards normalcy.
Punyanuch Sirisawadwattana, Country Manager of Robert Walters Thailand, shares, “In 2021, companies were focused on hiring for Thailand-based roles, with many senior-level vacancies filled amid company restructures. With many expatriates in Thailand having returned home, Thai locals are being tapped to replace these expatriates, though regional roles were split into individual countries to mitigate potential difficulties in travel and movement.”
“Broadly, we continue to see high hiring demand in the tech sector, particularly in digital marketing and e-commerce. This is similar within the healthcare, FMCG, manufacturing, supply chain and engineering spaces in Thailand,” Punyanuch adds.
Read on as Punyanuch shares her expectations about Thailand’s labour market in 2022.
Amid focus on hybrid working and D&I, companies are looking for tech and transformation professionals
Looking ahead at 2022, tech and transformation-related roles will continue to be in high demand, though the sector will still be limited by the availability of local talent. Quality Thai talent in tech can expect to be often headhunted with multiple offers.
Punyanuch highlights, “Companies will also likely continue adopting hybrid work models, as it has proven to be an effective arrangement. Businesses may find that they are now able to fill talent gaps for sought-after skills by hiring skilled talent from abroad, as there is no longer a need for relocation. Similarly, more Thai professionals will likely look for companies with hybrid, flexible work models when changing jobs, making it a critical factor in attracting and retaining talent.”
“Diversity and inclusion is a current big focus in companies, with many seeing the value of having diverse teams of different genders, nationalities and cultures. We expect hybrid working to further promote D&I, as companies look to hire talent from abroad,” Punyanuch reveals.
Soft skills are more crucial than ever
“Recent global events have led to rapid changes for many companies and a resulting need to adapt to fast-changing environments. It is no surprise that companies will now be looking for talent who exhibit active learning skills, adaptability and creativity in how they perform their roles. It is also important for professionals to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world, to be able to adapt and implement new ways of working,” Punyanuch points out.
“Soft skills will be more important than ever in 2022 with the hybrid work model. We will need to be able to connect well, influence and empower others even when we are not based in the same workspace or country. Communication skills will be critical here, as messages must be clear, concise and engaging for teams based remotely. The pandemic has shown that companies that can adapt, find solutions, and implement changes fast will have a competitive advantage in the present business climate,” she notes.
The pandemic has shown that companies that can adapt, find solutions, and implement changes fast will have a competitive advantage in the present business climate.
Recruiting and retaining talent in 2022
Punyanuch says, "Companies that require staff to return to on-site work will need to provide clear and valid reasons for doing so. As it is a competitive talent market in Thailand, companies will also need to be aware of the market price of top talent, and consider adjusting renumeration and benefits to have an advantage in securing them.”
“My key advice to hiring managers in 2022 would be to create work environments that are suitable for their desired talent. The world has shifted to flexible and hybrid working.
“To retain talent, companies should ensure they have clear progression plans for employees, and come up with new ways to engage them. This includes new channels to appreciate staff, as it is harder to do so in hybrid work models. This will help your employees feel valued,” she shares.
Punyanuch elaborates, “For start-up companies, it would be helpful to implement proper structures after the business has grown, as talent in start-ups may feel disillusioned when they continue to work long hours and see their roles be duplicated due to a lack of structure. On the other side, multinational companies can consider focusing more on agility, staff empowerment, implementing cross-functional exposure, and ensuring staff feel their opinions are received and valued.”
On the whole, employer branding is critical in Thailand’s candidate-short market. Companies should ensure they are portrayed positively to existing and potential employees to stand out in today’s crowded environment.
Salary increments and offers to remain competitive
Punyanuch concludes, “As the world continues to adapt to the uncertainties around Covid-19, there are still high risks when moving between jobs. A shortfall of candidates will thus likely remain in Thailand for some time.”
“Similar to the year before, we expect salary increments and offers to remain competitive in 2022, with a rise of 10 to 30%, depending on how critical the roles are. Positions in cybersecurity, sales and marketing, and plug-and-play roles will be able to garner higher increments.”
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