While there is skilled labour shortage witnessed across the globe, Thailand reports increasing unemployment rate due to lack of investments in the country, thus affecting creation of new job opportunities.
According to a report by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI, the unemployment rate in the country rose to 1.2 percent last month, but the business lobbies seem to be less affected as they been able to successfully maintain their employment levels.
The higher jobless rate in the country can be attributed to the fact that new fresh graduates in the country are unable to find jobs, due to lack of investments and most of them lack skills necessary to meet the industry demands. This higher unemployment rate also reflects the failure by the Thai education system to train graduates with skills required to meet industry standards and demands.
Chen Namchaisiri, chairman of the FTI, told National Multimedia, that most businesses have not initiated layoffs but they continue to attract foreign talent for skilled job roles in the country. Since the government has now diversified its focus on high-technology industry clusters, it is required to uplift the country’s education system standards to produce skilled workers and improve the image of vocational schools.
Chen Namchaisiri said: “Thai vocational schools must be rebranded. The federation has encouraged the vocational schools to cooperate with international vocational schools to improve their course syllabus and image so that more Thai parents will be willing to send their [children] to study at vocational schools, which could guarantee their employment after graduation.”
The FTI has cooperated with many foreign vocational schools to uplift their educational standards for professionals to pursue career paths. The targeted countries to produce quality vocational graduates include Japan, Germany and Austria.
The unemployment in Thailand has risen continuously from an average of 0.6-0.9 per cent a few years ago to 1.2 per cent last month. This means that nearly one-third (27 percent) of the 270,000 students who graduated last year could not find a job.
Bhumindr Harinsut, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said higher unemployment was a result of businesses failing to expand or attract new investment amid low economic growth, however there were no signs of layoffs currently.
The academia-industry gap seems to be huge in Thailand, with 70 to 80 percent of fresh graduates not skilled to meet industry demands. Playing down on the rising unemployment rate in the country, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) has confirmed Thailand’s financial and economic stability is at a high level.
The automation trends and dawn of robotic age in Thailand could have its impact according to the 2016 World Bank report that states, 72% of jobs in Thailand run the risk of being replaced by robots.
Time-consuming tasks such as housekeeping services might be completed by robotic vacuum cleaners, which are available at 3,000 baht with a one-year warranty, Bangkok Post reports. The shortage of labour in Thailand today will act as a catalyst for earlier adoption of technology. The danger is that the fast-ageing workforce remains complacent until it is too late.