When international companies consider places to setup shop, Thailand is now very near the bottom of the list for some companies. The policies of the Thai government designed to keep the elite running things has gone past critical mass, and now Thailand is seen as a dud when it comes to brain power.
Thailand is a wonderful place for beauty, entertainment, and rest and relaxation. The sights and friendliness of Thailand and the Thai people are second to none. But when it comes to finding Thais who possess the ability to do critical thinking for a company in its local startup phase where everyone needs to be contributing 100%, the well is dry to being damp at best.
With the recent increase of minimum wage, coupled with the four Thai employees required to get one work permit for a foreigner. The sweetness of Thailand has been soured a bit. Couple that with not being able to find critical thinking Thais to fill those four slots, and it is not hard for a CEO to conclude there are not enough nutrients in the soil to grow a company in Thailand.
In general there are exceptions to this and those exceptions are in labor that does not require much thinking or easily trained production line tasks. Assembly line jobs and other limited skill jobs are still a good match for Thailand. But finding people for the front office that can think on their feet and solve problems on the fly, Thailand is not the place.
The culprit once again comes back to the Thai education system. Unless a Thai has studied in non Thai schools all their life and they can strip away the Thai don’t worry about it attitude, they simply do not meet the requirements many companies need. For a Thai to get that type of education they must have deep pockets, and that comes back to the policies of the Thai governments of today and the past. If Thais can get past that critical financial ability tipping point to pay the high tuition of international schools, then they will eventually become self marketable for international companies that require their employees have a functioning mind.
Now as there are international schools in Thailand and an emerging middle class, there are Thais that meet the requirement but they are few and far between. Perhaps only 5% of the workforce meets this critical level, and they are very quickly hired and out of the job market. It seems company recruiters need to be part of the decision process before a company will decide to lay down roots in Thailand.
Now this is not trying to put a negative spin on Thailand, and by no means is that the intent of this post. But like any fruit there are parts you can eat and parts you can not or best put should not. But for Thailand to grow and become part of the international community and not be just a place for recreation they must have people that match the abilities of the international community, otherwise they will be bypassed time and time again.