Thailand: Labor Shortage Coming, Officials Say

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By Michael Mackey

May 20—Industrial firms in Thailand need to prepare for an upcoming labor shortage, sources tell Bloomberg BNA.

As many as 300,000 to 600,000 workers will be needed in the industrial sector, Labour Minister General Surasak Karnjanarat said, according to a release from NNT, the national news agency. This is the most recent and most public reminder from a government official that Thailand's consensual birth control campaign has been very successful but will lead to a smaller potential workforce in the future.

Chief among suggested solutions to the labor shortage is bringing in foreign workers.

“Start to look for workers from neighboring countries,” Watcharas Leelawath, director of the intergovernmental Mekong Institute, told Bloomberg BNA. “Companies should get access to information on the migrant-related legal framework and practices such as immigration law and work permits, as well as labor standards required by our export destination countries.”

Dr. Leelawath also noted the need for increased productivity from the existing labor force, and the government's Committee on Labor Solutions, chaired by General Karnjanarat, has urged the increased use of technology to raise capacity and of tax privileges to encourage employers to provide internships for vocational students.

“Offering training to candidates who do not have the requisite skills for employment, enabling them to become qualified, also expands the talent poll and lessens the labor shortage,” Warren Heaps, partner at compensation specialist Birches Group, told Bloomberg BNA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Mackey in Bangkok at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

The NNT press release is at

For more information on Thai HR law and regulation, see the Thailand primer.