What to Expect When Looking for Work in Thailand

01 September 2017 Peak Recruitment


If you have already visited Thailand then it is highly likely that you have enjoyed the wonderful weather, exotic surroundings and warm friendly natives. Everyone seems to want to go back – and not necessarily just for a holiday. So is there a chance of earning a living wage in Thailand? Can a foreigner find work in Thailand?

The answer to both these questions is yes. Of course, you will find different ways of working, odd employment laws which may surprise you and work regulations that don’t appear to sit with the type of employment rules we are not always used to in the UK.

But forewarned is forearmed, in this article Peak Recruitment help to clarify what you need to take into consideration, what are the best ways of finding work and we take you through some of those employment hurdles you are likely to face.

Cultural Needs for Working in Thailand

If you get to interview you are bound to be asked why you are applying for a job in Thailand. So the greater the ties with the country in the past and the more knowledge you have about living in Thailand will definitely go in your favour. Just like any other recruitment process in any other country, the company will want to be certain that you know what you are letting yourself in for and are therefore likely to stay in the post for the long-term. Previous work experience in Thailand is therefore a big plus.

Many prospective candidates wonder whether they will need to understand the native language and the simple answer to that is no. English is prevalent and office environments tend to be multi-cultural. However, you may find an understanding of the Thai language a bonus at business level.

Of course if you are going to live in Thailand and wish to fully immerse yourself in the culture, then perhaps learning the language to some degree will be fundamental to your new life. You will naturally find behavioral differences in the Thai culture and most of these you will only pick up through experience. But this article may give you an early taster of what to expect.

Searching for Work

How can you search for jobs when you are living abroad? Are employers likely to take candidates from abroad? There is no doubt that if you are resident or visiting the country it will no doubt make communications with the recruiting company much easier. However, a solid Thai recruiting company which specializes in the industry you are interested in, can help you build important bridges.

At the same time, not all posts will be necessarily open to foreign candidates. In many cases employers prefer to recruit a local candidate rather than someone from abroad. One of the reasons for this is the whole process of employing a foreign worker involves a great deal of paperwork and would call for numerous communications with government agencies before the post is filled. In general, it is unlikely a foreigner will be employed where a Thai national holds the exact same skills.

However, it is also true that if a vacancy pays more than THB 200,000 per month, or is of a very specific nature, it is probable that the employer may extend their search to candidates outside of Thailand. Many such Thai companies will advertise via social media sites such as Linked in or online search engines. Specialist Thai recruitment agencies such as Peak Recruitment advertise on their own website. You may then be interviewed via Skype for instance.

Some occupations are restricted to Thai nationals (under the Alien Employment Act). These job roles tend to be in lower paid manual work such as labouring, agriculture and shop work. But the list also includes accountancy, special crafts and clerical or secretarial work. You can see the full list here

What Are My Rights and How Can I Protect Myself?

You will notice when looking at job descriptions that they can be very specific. Most importantly discrimination based on age or gender in Thailand is not illegal. For instance, a job may well state “woman under 30” or “male 25 plus”. Qualifications can be very specific as they often ask for a set number of years’ experience or only a specific level of degree.

To make sure you are safe before commencing work ensure that you have a written contract of employment which clearly spells out all terms and conditions.

You will need a work permit to work in Thailand. It is the company you are working for who should provide it, so make sure you are given one. It is illegal to work in Thailand without a work permit and its absence can lead to imprisonment or even deportation.

In order to cover yourself due to future discrepancies you are going to need to keep a careful record of your salary as pay slips are rarely issued in Thailand. If your employment is terminated this will mean you have no work permit. This would be a good time to visit an employment lawyer for further advice as to how you can begin working legally again. In Thailand, the amount of leaving pay an employee will receive is determined by the length of service they have had.

Are you looking for employment in the Asian Food industry? Please visit our vacancies page

Peak Recruitment is the leading recruitment agency in Thailand. A human resource specialist, our pioneering methodology and commitment to deliver exemplary services has placed us first for executive recruitment in Bangkok. As a team, we offer a distinctive approach that you just won’t find anywhere else in Thailand. For contact information click here