The jobs that are the most in-demand for expats in Thailand

Hello,

We invite you to share some information regarding the job market for expats in Thailand. This information will be incredibly helpful to anyone considering moving there, so we're very grateful for your contribution.

What are the types of jobs that are easily accessible to expats in Thailand?

What are the ones most in-demand for expats?

Which industry and/or jobs have limited workforce?

Are there any existing surveys, data, or reports done regarding this topic?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

I gave up working in Thailand over twenty years ago so I can’t give any up to date employment information but I can act as fluffer and get this started.  Generally the greatest employment opportunities are for those moving from less developed nations to more developed nations with higher wages and a better economy.  In Thailand’s case that means impoverished minorities from neighboring countries finding work in fishing, construction, agriculture and manufacturing.  So basically brutal low paying jobs the locals don’t want to do.

Unless your international company, government or god sends you here on assignment based on your senior management skills or technical expertise most people will be taking a step backwards when looking for employment in Thailand.  In the past, going back to the mid-seventies when I first arrived, there where military guys who stayed on instead of returning home after the Vietnam War.  There were Peace Corp types and a few others who developed connections and language proficiency which they were able to parlay into other opportunities.

There are the creative entrepreneurial types who will succeed wherever they go but you don’t tend to find them searching the internet for run of the mill white-collar or blue-collar grunt work.  There are plenty of Thais with a decent education or equivalent skills lined up to do the work many foreigner are looking for, they will work for less and they don’t need special attention in the form of visas, work permits and language help.

My general rule of thumb is that if someone hasn’t been able to figure it out in their own country, they have little to no chance of figuring it out in a foreign country with less opportunity and fewer safeguards than their own.  That doesn't seem to stop people from coming here on holiday, have sex with someone, and deciding they absolutely have to live in Thailand.  Still some succeed where most fail.

Damn! Villagefarang! More positive information please! :)

I just figured I would get the ball rolling and thought someone might come along with a rebuttal if they didn’t like what I wrote.  That is what it takes sometimes to motivate posters.  There is always teaching, missionary work and a variety of generally illegal or immoral activities like boiler rooms, sale of alcohol, drugs or prostitution in guise of owning a bar.  The truth is I have seen many success stories over the years but percentage wise it is a small percentage.  Most people don’t do well financially, especially if they are just hired help and disposable.  There is no harm in trying I guess…what is the worst that could happen? ;)

Thanks Village farang. :)

But I am not coming to Thailand for sex. Me and my wife are married for 26 years, and we are coming there for a new beginning. And will do what it takes to make a success of it. :)

I didn’t say you were but companionship tends to play a role at some point for most people.  People fall in love and dream of moving here at some point or they move here for work or a multitude of other reasons and end up falling in love.  Companionship is more available here for many people than back home and loneliness is a great motivator.  Not many people spend twenty years single in Thailand like I did, but it can and does happen.

villagefarang :

I just figured I would get the ball rolling and thought someone might come along with a rebuttal if they didn’t like what I wrote.  That is what it takes sometimes to motivate posters.  There is always teaching, missionary work and a variety of generally illegal or immoral activities like boiler rooms, sale of alcohol, drugs or prostitution in guise of owning a bar.  The truth is I have seen many success stories over the years but percentage wise it is a small percentage.  Most people don’t do well financially, especially if they are just hired help and disposable.  There is no harm in trying I guess…what is the worst that could happen? ;)

I have had discussions in my town with more then a few Westerners who are Bar owners (or there wife/GF is).  Some have just walked away, gone broke.  Others would like to sell and get out of the business,  Most are either breaking even or loosing money, not many winners.  I can only offer sympathy.

Went to a few business seminars in bkk just to get a taste 3 years ago.

Found an English guy working as a sales director
He spoke very basic thai, he was a speaker at the seminar (english) the company he worked for supplied topps market with imported goods.

The seminar was organised by a French man who has a business organising these events. Bart his name was I think. Found it through meetup app.

The seminar also included a French run company called delishop who delivered food from their website to most of thailand. Not sure how big they were but they had 3 French staff members at the event.

We lived in kalasin (north east) thailand for 18 months. Noticed a lot of religious based workers there. One guy who was ok was a Christian charity worker and a teacher and the other guy was a jehovas witness and seemed to be working without a visa as he was very sketchy about his whole deal. Not that I cared. Came across a fair few teachers and NGO workers there but not much else.

I always thought diving instruction was a job farang can do but maybe it's a discretionary position on the islands and is actually reserved for thai nationals?

In my opinion,  and I have only been here on Phuket Island non-stop for 10 years, it is all about having a WorkPermit.
Period.
If anyone tells You anything else,  ask them how long they have lived in Thailand.
Almost every single non-Thai that I knew 9-10 years ago in Phuket has disappeared from here,  either going-back-home, or being arrested and then deported for working without a WorkPermit.
Don't depend on the Company You work at (or hope to work at)  to supply You with a WorkPermit.
Almost no Thai Owned Company has the 2 Million Baht in stock per Non-Thai employee.
Get your'own personal WorkPermit,  and enjoy working,  and living in wonderland Siam.
aloha

Recently I saw a Thai company for sale with 2 work permits
A shelf company
What could I do with this if I bought it?
It was 15,000 baht
Could I use as a springboard to setting an actual trading company or just pay taxes annually for having a shelf company ?

yes you are right

not easy

I have had a work permit 6 years now and know all the angles

penalties here now for no work permit are black listed and dont come back to 10 years

every year reapply

every 90 days show my face at Immigration

pay tax

pay social

and the beat goes on

do your homework

you cannot transfer a work permit

its a scam

run away

I have been here for 4 years and recently was offered a job teaching factory managers English at a language school
This would have been for 6 hours per week in the evenings.
Wanted to apply for a work permit but all the hoops to jump through for the permit just did not make it worthwhile.
it was definitely not for the money as that was peanuts but the mental challenge  was my reason and it would also keep me busy in the evenings for a few hours a week.
Thus I now watch TV again instead of enjoying myself teaching and I have never been a teacher but did give law lectures at a large company in SA for Senior Security staff
I feel that Thailand can make the application process for certain visas a bit less complicated and then each labour office and Immigration office has their own rules
But i love Thailand and will live the rest of my life here

villagefarang :

I didn’t say you were but companionship tends to play a role at some point for most people.  People fall in love and dream of moving here at some point or they move here for work or a multitude of other reasons and end up falling in love.  Companionship is more available here for many people than back home and loneliness is a great motivator.  Not many people spend twenty years single in Thailand like I did, but it can and does happen.

A bit off-topic here, but anyone who can live singly, anywhere, for 20 years, obviously has no co-dependency issues, nor any loneliness voids to be filled, by the physical presence of a live-in companion, possesses a very unique repertoire of personal characteristics. 

Indeed, when a companion eventually came/comes into such a person's life, it certainly happens for more (across-the-board) "substantial" reasons, than the norm. Good for you, VF.

Anton&Jacky :

Damn! Villagefarang! More positive information please! :)

On behalf of VF, I submit ~ A Bachelor's degree (even in Basket-Weaving), together with a CELTA (best). or TEFL certification, is a shoe-in for a 30-40K-Baht/mo., English Teaching position, in Bangkok. And, that standard is regardless of the foreign English Teachers (Caucasian-like) nationality.

Obtaining a Thai Work-Permit is considerably easier, than with other professions in Thailand, simply due to the pronounced absence of the "protectionist" mentality, within the education industry of Thailand. Ok? :cheers:

I know of people who do not even have a degree and have only finished High school  but have a  Celta or TEFL qualification and who are teaching in Bkk earning 55 K a month.
I must admit that they come from South Africa which is considered an English speaking country.
At my age of 74 I have no interest in obtaining a TEFL etc qualification

barrytaylor :

I know of people who do not even have a degree and have only finished High school  but have a  Celta or TEFL qualification and who are teaching in Bkk earning 55 K a month.
I must admit that they come from South Africa which is considered an English speaking country.
At my age of 74 I have no interest in obtaining a TEFL etc qualification

I'm not looking to open a can of worms (off-topic) debate here, but FYI ~ only "whites" get away with working, without a "work permit", in Thailand. Just the facts.:cool:

In addition, we know highly-qualified (black) Africans, holding M.E. degrees, w/ both CELTA/DELTA certifications, and verifiable work experience, who manage to get a 30-40Kbaht/mo. English/Math/Science teaching position, but only when the school cannot find a Caucasian-like teacher, for the position. Also, a fact.

villagefarang :

I have had discussions in my town with more then a few Westerners who are Bar owners (or there wife/GF is).  Some have just walked away, gone broke.  Others would like to sell and get out of the business,  Most are either breaking even or loosing money, not many winners.  I can only offer sympathy.

I'll can bet you, a dollar to a dime, the vast majority of those farang bar owners, were forewarned, in advance, regarding the "fool"-heartiness of investing their life savings, into an historically-proven, bad investment venture. "The Rules of The Road" song certainly applies in their regard, eh? :cool:

yes its a shame that some allowances are not made for situational English as Thailand badly needs teachers as can be seen by the latest school and University rankings.

Thailand has again slipped lower in the rankings.

blackjack2010 :

yes its a shame that some allowances are not made for situational English as Thailand badly needs teachers as can be seen by the latest school and University rankings.

Thailand has again slipped lower in the rankings.

Since the Bachelor's Degree, is now (globally) considered to be the equivalent new High School Diploma.

And since most Thais will never work outside Thailand, those (unsubstantiated) ratings, you've mentioned,  matter little, in the over-all scheme of things, peculiar to Thailand.

Hi ARB360
I would just like you to know that two of my friends who teach here are women of colour and both have good positions at schools .They are not so called whites. One male who teaches here is a white.
I beleive a lot depends on your knowledge of English and pronunciation which is very  important

barrytaylor :

Hi ARB360
I would just like you to know that two of my friends who teach here are women of colour and both have good positions at schools .They are not so called whites. One male who teaches here is a white.
I beleive a lot depends on your knowledge of English and pronunciation which is very  important

Thank you, for letting me know about your two female teacher friends of "colour", who happen to have knowledge of English, and the pertinent pronunciation proficiency levels. The exceptions to the norm are duly noted.

It further pleases me to know, that at least two Africans, are holding good (50K-baht/mo) salaried positions (in Thailand), equivalent to their white male colleagues (as you previously mentioned), who have no degrees. I guess there is a "god" after all, eh? :cheers:

ARB360
Both these ladies do not have degrees and obtained the positions purely on their capabilities and not due to any other factor.They also do not just have English as their language but both are fluent in English though English is not their  home language and they are Afrikaans speaking ladies.
The Thai schools select the best that they can find and these two ladies speak  English clearly and with no accent that cannot be understood as many people who teach English here have terrible accents

Most of Thailand's top universities plunged in the 2018 Asia University Rankings released Wednesday by Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. Seven of 10 Thai prestigious universities scored lower than...

Please credit and share this article with others using this link:https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1409306/thai-university-rankings-plummet. View our policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip. © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.

University graduates are about the future and not the now

barrytaylor :

ARB360
Both these ladies do not have degrees and obtained the positions purely on their capabilities and not due to any other factor.They also do not just have English as their language but both are fluent in English though English is not their  home language and they are Afrikaans speaking ladies.
The Thai schools select the best that they can find and these two ladies speak  English clearly and with no accent that cannot be understood as many people who teach English here have terrible accents

Whatever, man. I just don't believe anything, of what you've written, thus far. It just doesn't coincide with what I know to be the (over-all) realities. Again, whatever, sir. Adios, and :cheers:

All I can say either you have a chip on your shoulder or you have an inferiority complex.You want to indicate the Thais are racist and that is far from the truth. I do not lie and what you experience is your own attitudinal problem.
Look in a mirror and see your own problem

In Chiang Mai I've had some dealings with the Prem School. For those who don't know it is a very well established and upper crust school. The director of special education services there is a black African female. She's held the job for at least a few years.

Someone told me that one does not need a work permit to sell real estate in Thailand. Could that be true? I wouldn't sell real estate, I'm just wondering if someone has the answer to this question.

barrytaylor :

All I can say either you have a chip on your shoulder or you have an inferiority complex.You want to indicate the Thais are racist and that is far from the truth. I do not lie and what you experience is your own attitudinal problem.
Look in a mirror and see your own problem

I just saw the same conversation ensue on another forum when someone else refused to believe that there are highly-paid teachers from a lot of different countries around the world working in international schools here - including plenty of non-whites. Even with names and links provided, the response was that he wouldn't "indulge" in delusion.

You can't fix stupid...

I think overall I would agree with VillageFarang.
I have been considering this for years as  I am very happy in Thailand but more or less come to the conclusion it is better to have a business in Europe and come here a few months of the year - with € (or $ or whatever).
One should not forget that living in Thailand and earning in baht is a lower living standard (unless sent from Eur or US by big company with Western salary).
Teaching I feel is the best situation providing one has a BA and Celta certificate, enabling a legal situation with work visa.
Making a business (bar, massage parlour, guesthouse or anything else) involves having a Thai partner and that is where all the problems start. First of all the business has to work (be in the right place, etc) 2nd depends on partner.
If the Thai future spouse has been encountered in a bar, massage parlour or on the street, I am afraid chances of failure due to all the money being siphoned away are very great.
There are many examples of ex-pats reduced to poverty or a gloomy return to home country.
Examples of successful relationships are Westerners living here on retirement visas and encountering working Thai ladies online.
One should not forget that the Thai partner situation inherently implies that the Westerner can become a prisoner of his wife and her family because he has no rights (will be coming back and forth with visa run). This does not mean it can never work but the conditions render this very difficult.
My views are based on a realistic approach and do not in any deflect from my appreciation of Thailand as a country and Thai culture.

Just as a comment; According to my Thai friend There is prejudice in Thailand. There are those who do have an aversion to black skinned people. That is because they themselves don't like dark skin. But that prejudice does not seem to follow into the character of a black skinned person. In northern Thailand there is additional prejudice. In the north there are many indigenous tribes. Over the years or decades that prejudice now seems to have settled down to more of an aversion rather then a prejudice. There is prejudice in Thailand but there are different kinds and degrees of them. Then again no country is without any prejudice.

This is an accumulation of thoughts from listening to several different conversations.

VillageFarang is dead right and you don't want people to go around sugar coating realities that as suggested could lead to poverty do you? Personally the hard advice is better and in this case 110%
If you have not seen,experienced,heard or know of these things you really should take heed of everything people are saying here. I have thought seriously about living and working in Thailand, partially due to being in a relationship with a Thai lady for a few years and because i love the place, all i could ever think about was/is living in Thailand and *How to do it long term.. But at the end of the day with all the knowledge i have gained from my experiences and all the stories i have heard from sitting in bars and what knot talking to all different soughts of farangs , the wise advice is to make your money in the west,or maybe like some people i know (who work in advertising) find a niche (online stuff even off the books, its the new wild west right?), if your only option is teaching (maybe even with no experience?) i think it would be a poor option and even if you stuck it out for 12 months or more,a person should/would want to have some good finances to fall back on when times got tough,make your money back home and visit Thailand in between, maybe you can even do 6 months at a time here and there, who knows, but you need an angle a skill some solid connections, i doubt seriously that even if you landed a job teaching you'd be on 55kbht a month , i would think around 30k for newbies would be more like it? Yes thais are rascist towards darker skinned people ( especially their own Isaan etc ) that's why the Thais are obsessed with their skin and  run around trying to make themselves whiter  :/ , there you go a niche, skin whitening cream  :lol:

I agree Ozzydave and find many people here who are struggling and not only that have been living here trying to find work in their expertise field but due to the laws here cannot.
Thailand is losing a lot of expertise due to this and I think ,I could be wrong, that the IT field is one of them
The times that I have taken my laptop to an "IT expert" the person has messed it up.
I have no real computer knowledge and cannot find any person who can assist or repair my laptop.
The same goes for many other  jobs here.
Many of the school teachers have to work on so called study Visa to obtain employment and this is making a farce of the regulations here due to the immigration dept rules or  laws

You often hear foreigners voicing their opinions on all things Thai and going through their wish-list of things Thais should do to make life easier for them.  Has anyone taken even a moment to ponder what we must look like to them? 

We show distain for their cultural and societal norms, we don’t speak the language and we congregate in expat ghettoes.  Many foreigners flaunt Thai laws, work illegally, engage in criminal activity, prostitution and drugs. 

Other than some of us having white skin (however ravaged and wrinkled it might be) what makes us think Thais want or need anything we have to offer?  Just something to think about. :unsure

OzzyDave :

VillageFarang is dead right and you don't want people to go around sugar coating realities that as suggested could lead to poverty do you? Personally the hard advice is better and in this case 110%
If you have not seen,experienced,heard or know of these things you really should take heed of everything people are saying here .. i doubt seriously that even if you landed a job teaching you'd be on 55kbht a month , i would think around 30k for newbies would be more like it? Yes thais are rascist towards darker skinned people ( especially their own Isaan etc ) that's why the Thais are obsessed with their skin and  run around trying to make themselves whiter  :/ , there you go a niche, skin whitening cream  :lol:

I agree that people who drop their lives in their home countries and move here virtually unprepared will be in for a shock in most cases. However, if you come to Thailand with a position already lined up - whether with an international company or a domestic one - or have strong experience in the right kind of field, it is possible build a career here.

Education can absolutely be one of those. I won't sugarcoat it as you say; it is certainly a challenge if you don't have a degree in education or teaching experience, and most positions in that case will be in the 30,000 to 50,000 range. However, licensed teachers can make substantially more. There are plenty of bilingual schools (at least two dozen) that pay 50,000, and more than double that number of international schools that pay 60,000 or more - including a small number with a top range of 150,000 - 300,000.

Keep in mind that in those last few, the population of expats represents about 70-80% of the student body. In other words, if the teachers are earning that amount, how much must their parents make to send them to those schools?

Again, you are absolutely right that no one should expect to step off the plane and have a well-paying options spread in front of them. But it can be done. I've lived here 10 years now and earn substantially more in my line of work than I could elsewhere, including my home in the U.S.

villagefarang :

You often hear foreigners voicing their opinions on all things Thai and going through their wish-list of things Thais should do to make life easier for them.  Has anyone taken even a moment to ponder what we must look like to them? 

We show distain for their cultural and societal norms, we don’t speak the language and we congregate in expat ghettoes.  Many foreigners flaunt Thai laws, work illegally, engage in criminal activity, prostitution and drugs. 

Other than some of us having white skin (however ravaged and wrinkled it might be) what makes us think Thais want or need anything we have to offer?  Just something to think about. :unsure

I think you're spot-on in your assessment. When you consider the anti-immigrant sentiment that is currently sweeping through Europe and North America, much of it is built on the portrayal of those immigrants as criminals. Imagine if the positions were reversed for a moment, with Thailand being the superpower and even more expats wanting to come here...but having so many function in the same way they currently do. There would be a massive public outcry at the very least, and I imagine many would be kicked out of the country!

Thailand may have its issues like any other country, but they're remarkably tolerant of foreigners given the way many of our peers act.

Very well said.!
There is a term in the United States for what You have described : CARPETBAGGERS
This is not a good term.

How many people do You personally know,  who have lived in Thailand over 5 years,  and have zero-idea about Thai Culture,  or WHY a Thai does something a certain way,  if it is different then the Thai is thought of as wrong.
You hit the nail on the head by mentioning the Non-Thai enclaves they live in "for safety"...
Remember also,  these same people do not eat Thai-Food,  have few Thai friends,  and truly understand nothing about Thai Culture,  except that Thais need to change...

As I live, sit and learn about Thailand in Thailand, there is one concept that swirls through my mind. It is some kind of concept of history of Thailand. The other day I read an article where the Thai authorities confiscated a bunch of products that were completely bogus, either knock offs or "miracle" products that were worthless (like US snake oil salesmen stuff). I also heard a similar story from Saigon, without the confiscation. It seems that for almost 200 hundred years some part of the west has introduced itself to Thailand and South East Asian with varying degrees of success. But even today there are still elements of Thai culture that are still deeply ingrained. In the '70's I knew the Japanese culture very well and it was very well structured even in the 1970's. Thailand seems never to have been as structured except for that of the king.

I could probably go on for a long time with that train of thought. The point being is that for 200 year's the west has been running into to Thailand and South East Asia, one way or another, introducing the better way of the western world. Thailand is their own unique process and has accepted what they wish and politely as can be put some distance with what they don't want. And in the middle of it there is this Thai Way that gets diluted and more confusing. Like the western world they use regulations to correct things, but it gets mired in some confusion between the west and the Far east.

Thailand has it's delights but it is not big enough to share with the entire western world.

Just a few thoughts.

No disrespect to You kind Sir,  however,  when You say "better way", it illustrates my opinion that non-Thais are ALWAYS trying to change Thai people to a non-Thai paradigm.
We,  the non-Thais are the peoples who need to learn how to conform to Thai culture.
If 'our way" was in fact better,  we non-Thai people would NOT be living here where things are better than back Home,  where ever Home used to be.
Once again,  in my opinion.....
aloha

Actually I was saying what you are saying. The non westerner comes in with his better idea which may or may not be better. It's up to the Thai to decide, not the westerner. As an example the fork and spoon are accepted, but not the knife! No other Asian culture has allowed that acceptance (I think).

Yes Sir.

I misunderstood You in the last comment.
I know You love Thailand like I do.
Aloha

New topic