Agency: Skills scarcity critical
Thailand urgently needs to solve the prolonged skilled labour shortage because the country is facing technological disruption and the labour supply does not meet the demands of most companies, says recruitment agency ManpowerGroup.
As the government upgrades the country's industrial and business sectors from 2.0 to 4.0 with new technology and innovations, the labour market has to improve as well, said marketing manager Suthida Kanjanakantikul.
"Changes from the disruption are challenging all sectors in the country to keep up with the 4.0 stage in the near future," Ms Suthida said.
Citing a 2017 Manpower survey conducted in 50 countries, she said the top 10 sectors needed in the labour market are in skilled trades; sales representative; drivers; engineers; technicians; information technology (IT); accounting and financing; professionals; office support; and manufacturing.
"Those 10 sectors also need labour, especially the IT staff," Ms Suthida said. "This trend includes artificial intelligence, fintech digital payment banking, Internet of Things, cloud computing, cybersecurity, virtual reality and augmented reality teaching, blockchain and big data."
Ms Suthida predicts that demand for workers in the 10 sectors will have average yearly growth of 20%.
Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive of US-based ManpowerGroup, said labour shortages are becoming a problem in many countries worldwide, particularly in high-skilled employees.
Thailand itself is developing the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme and implementing 11 targeted industries under the S-curve policy, so the country cannot avoid the impact of disruptive technology on the local labour market.
"Thailand is developing and transferring to the new digital era, similar to many countries that need labour with higher skills to serve the industrial and business sectors," Mr Prising said. "The IT sector is the most important job for global businesses."
He said many countries worldwide, including Thailand, have critical labour shortages, and while the government has no clear-cut roadmap, this crisis will affect entire sectors and lower competitiveness.
"The government, educational institutions and the private sector should team up to design a curriculum and supply workers to the market," Mr Prising said. "The much-touted EEC scheme will need massive numbers of highly skilled workers in the country."
Manpower will focus on labour innovation to offer quality services, meet diverse needs and help businesses meet the challenges of the 4.0 era, he said.