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Hiring in Supply Chain & Engineering (Eastern Seaboard): Guide and Trends in 2024

Digitally advanced companies have the upper hand in talent attraction 

Recession or not, 2023 has been a challenging year for the manufacturing industry. Kritsada Suthepakul, Senior Manager at Robert Walters Thailand’s Supply Chain & Engineering division, explains that companies have been on a drive to keep pace with investments they had made in technology to drive efficiency and reduce costs.

“They have had to upskill their current workforce and recruit talents with expertise in advanced technology to keep up with an ever-changing manufacturing landscape,” he explains. “This includes the introduction of engineering automation to streamline production processes and automate repetitive tasks.”

As a result, Kritsada observes that there has been a spike in demand for professionals who can leverage digital tools, and who possess the right soft skills and characteristics.

Read on to find out more about Kritsada’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Thailand’s Supply Chain & Engineering professionals in 2024.

Skills diversification, cutting edge tech set the tone for hiring

In the year ahead, Kritsada expects that companies will continue to prioritise skills diversification in their hiring.

Given the current talent shortage in manufacturing, Kritsada also foresees that candidates and employees will have more leverage to demand preferable conditions – from raising compensation and improving benefits to career advancement opportunities. More manufacturing companies will implement career development programmes to retain and attract talent.

Furthermore, companies such as digital manufacturers and smart factories will be more likely to have their pick of the best candidates on the market. “Companies that undergo digital transformation are perceived as more modern and dynamic, and this helps attract and retain talent who want to take on innovative and challenging scopes of work. Those companies are well positioned to provide cutting edge, efficient ways of working,” he adds.

Strong demand for candidates with both hard and soft skills

“While solid technical skillsets are still undoubtedly important, more and more, companies are inclined to hire talents with high adaptability and excellent technical skillsets, instead of candidates who have the latter only,” he shares.

Candidates with effective communication skills, exceptional emotional intelligence, robust leadership abilities, adept collaboration, high adaptability, and a strong work ethic will remain highly sought after. Those with experience in automation and digitalisation will also stand out.

Roles that will be in high demand in 2024 include plant managers, quality managers and maintenance managers.

Optimise the hiring process for speed and connection

Manufacturing companies need to streamline recruitment processes so they don’t lose out on quality candidates in today’s competitive talent market. As such, the hiring process will need to go faster and deeper.

“Candidates appreciate it when the hiring process is efficient because it is a signal that the company values their time, but they also want a deep and genuine connection with the hiring team. They want to gain insights into the company culture and to assess whether they are a fit for the team,” Kritsada explains. “Striking a balance between the time-to-hire and rapport building is important, and employers that can do their best in both areas will succeed in winning over the best talent in this candidate-driven market.”

Within the engineering and manufacturing space, Kritsada notes that candidate motivations have not changed much when it comes to changing jobs. Majority of candidates in the sector value compensation and benefits, challenging and interesting work, and an inspiring work culture. It is recommended that companies focus on these points and improve the hiring process for speed and relationship building to position themselves as a great place to work.

Candidates in supply chain and procurement weigh location, culture, benefits and growth opportunities more heavily. Companies can retain their talent by fostering a culture that employees can resonate with, as well as provide competitive pay and development opportunities to keep them engaged.

Hiring managers will be more mindful with salary increments

Salaries for engineering and manufacturing professionals will increase more modestly this year than before, which may prompt some employees to seek out new job opportunities. However, Kritsada points out that employers will continue to pay a premium for prized employees and when competing for top talent in the hiring market. In these cases, job movers can expect salary increments of 25 – 30%.

Meanwhile, salaries are negotiable for supply chain and procurement professionals if their requirements around work-life balance are met, and if they get to work near their homes and families. For these professionals, salaries may rise by 10 – 20% for job movers.

Find out more

Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in the Supply Chain & Engineering industry in Thailand, Eastern Seaboard.

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Kritsada  Suthepakul

Kritsada Suthepakul

Supply Chain & Procurement, Thailand

With over eight years of recruitment experience, Kritsada works closely with leading MNCs and Thai listed companies across industries, focusing on roles in Bangkok and the Eastern Seaboard.

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