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Thailand: Graduate prospects and the automotive sector

06 May 2013

New graduates are finding it difficult to get jobs in the highly competitive labour market as they lack the experience and skills attained in the workplace according to The Nation. "Nowadays, the labour market is highly competitive. New graduates like me find it very difficult to get a jobs, because we're inferior to those who have been working and accumulating skills and experience," said Poontarika Chuaysong, 22, a new graduate from Assumption University.

The Secretariat of the Prime Minister has forecasted that the oversupply of new graduates for the labour market in 2013 will be around 37,357. However, newly graduated students do not walk alone in their bid to enter the workplace. One company providing human resource services recently offered career guidance and free training workshops to help young job seekers improve their chances of employment.

Adecco Group Thailand offered one-on-one coaching sessions and guidance to 240 new graduates and young job seekers using 40 coaches and two complementary training seminars entitled "Discover Your Own Strengths" and "Social Media for 1st Jobbers". The graduates also enjoyed activities like the "Talent Sort Game", while they were also able to apply for jobs offered by leading companies at the Adecco Job Kiosk. These activities were part of the "Adecco Way to Work" programme which was hosted by "Adecco Career Coach Day for 1st Jobbers in Thailand".

"The activities provided helpful advice, guided them on how to work professionally and assisted them in discovering their potential", said Tidarat Kanchanawat, regional director for Thailand and Vietnam.

In separate news, the labour opportunities in Thailand's automobile industry will keep growing along with demand for cars and trucks, according to a recent survey by the ManpowerGroup Thailand also reported in The Nation.

Simon Matthews, ManpowerGroup's manager for Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East, said future labour opportunities for Thailand's automobile industry would definitely grow judging from current demand. The growing demand for labour in the auto industry will last for at least two or three years, it said.

The first visible point is the domestic boom in first-car purchases. Increased market demands will lead to an expansion of the labour force when it comes to offices, maintenance, post-sale services and familiarity as more vehicles are used while engines need to be serviced or replaced.

Matthews added that labour demands in the industry would rise to another level with the opening of the AEC. Given clear support and laws for establishing manufacturing and distribution factories, more automobile companies are expected to establish production bases here, encouraged by the country's proximity to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia and the advantages of deep seaports.

Labour demands will be amplified along with the growth in the production, assembly and parts segments. For the foreseeable future, corporations and smaller companies will continue to rely on skilled labour for jobs that cannot be performed by machines.

A glance at previous wages shows this group of labourers was already making more than Bt300 per day before that was made the minimum, while companies provided cost-effective benefits because of high product value. Hence this group of labour is not affected by the new minimum wage, while maintaining higher market demands.

"In getting Thailand ready [for growth in this industry], we are looking at developing vocational and engineering youth groups required for administration and skilled-labour occupations," Matthews said. "These corporations need skilled labour to work in support of growing future market demands. Automobile enterprises will have additional clarity in the future consisting of new-automobile sales, high-quality used automobiles and more types of maintenance facilities.

"Our expectations are a boost in competition in the automobile markets, offering good and inexpensive services with efficient equipment and instruments. If we push for skills in Thai workers, there will be no reason to fear the inflows of foreign labour with the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2015."

Matthews added that the survey findings provided good operational data for Thai labour in the vocational, mechanical and engineering fields for quality personnel capable of answering market demands.

At present, 200,000-300,000 workers in these groups are in demand per year, thus indicating Thailand's ongoing position as one of the top 10 countries manufacturing the most automobiles in the world.

"We believe in the capacity of Thai labour in the automobile industry as quality labour in demand by domestic and foreign markets as long as it is supported by domestic education and the private sector," he said. 

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