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Asia – Closer ASEAN ties concern workers and employers

26 November 2013

Workers and employers across Asia have expressed concerns about the Asean Economic Community (AEC) that will come into effect in 2015 according to a survey from Jobstreet.com, reports nationalmultimedia.com. The goal of the AEC is closer regional economic integration.

One-third of respondents expect to see a higher job turnover rate due to the borderless, wider opportunities of the AEC job market, while employers believe they will have to raise wages to stop the labour drain. 

Thanaporn Satitpunwaycha, country manager of Jobstreet.com Recruitment (Thailand) Co, said it launched the survey early this month, polling 267 employers. It found that 58% of them believed that under the AEC, they would recruit labour from neighbouring countries. Most of these workers would come from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, since the employers believe labourers from these countries are more diligent and ready for hard work than Thais, while their wages are lower. 

Jobstreet.com also surveyed 2,006 workers in many positions and various industries, and found that 47% of respondents were concerned about negative effects from job movement under the AEC. They were worried about losing their jobs to people from neighbouring countries. A total of 67%, however, foresaw the possibility of finding better-paying jobs abroad, and 52% intended to look for new job opportunities. Most of these workers – 80% - would prefer to work in Singapore.

Mr Satitpunwaycha added: "From the employers' point of view, in comparison with Thai workers, workers from neighbouring countries are better at English skills and readiness for hard work. On the other hand, Thai workers are better at respectful manners and self-adjustment.” 

"Everyone should think about preparing for competition in the job market, especially in improving their English, which will undoubtedly become the main language for the AEC and will be a must for workers who look for new job possibilities in foreign countries, or even in Thailand," he concluded. 

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