Why is it so hard to get a job in Thailand?

So the bitter snow and cold has made you think that things must be better abroad right? So you decide to do some online research and you see a number of people on social media having the time of their life in the December sunshine on tax free jobs in exotic destinations, and you wonder why you have not thought of this as yet.

Netmedia in Thailand

Netmedia in Thailand

We all as humans have knee jerk reactions and covet what someone has, and yet when we look into our hearts and take the time to look at things subjectively, we will see that whatever anyone has achieved, the universal laws will always apply, that they have gone through a process to get there, and that process is not without its cost.

Oh sure there will always be the Millionaires kid, but there is a price to just spending someone else’s money and wondering all their lives what they are capable off themselves. Not forgetting it is human nature to boast and exaggerate somewhat, after all it makes us feel good about ourselves when we can say we are doing well.

As someone who gave up their UK job ten years ago and moved to South East Asia and created a lifestyle here, I receive around 5 C.V.’s every week and I am often asked how to get a job in Thailand, and I even created a traveling website myself to help answer a few questions for these people.

My biggest advice is lose the ‘job mentality’ yes you may be after paid employment, but here in Thailand knowledge is power, you have to try to understand things from an employer’s point of view.

There are many different laws for foreigners working here. Consider this; in your home country if an equally qualified foreigner got the job you were both going for, you would be miffed, because you after all, are a citizen and have paid taxes all your life, so you should be next in the pecking order over a foreigner!

In Thailand, as I am sure it is in any foreign arena, a work permit is required for you to work in that country. Quite rightfully the law here states that your position must be balanced out with a number of paid Thai citizens working with the same company.

Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Therein is the challenge to employ you; an employer has to employ a number of Thai people. Again are you so especially skilled that no Thai person can do your job at a quarter of the price? Think about it; why is the employer there in the first place? For cheaper labour!

When I first met a person at a business networking event ten years ago and they said they are looking for a job, I though they must be a Brain Surgeon or a Nuclear scientist or something and when they said they were looking for work in Media I thought, well: good luck with that!

In my experience there are only a few ways foreigners who want to reside in the sunshine manage:

Get an expat package

Stay at your current firm in your home country and see if there are any placements abroad, OK so your Jam factory has no plans to open up a factory in Phuket Thailand just yet, so change your career!  The luckiest expats here are the ones who have been sent by their company, flights, housing, schooling all provided for them, they turn up and fall in love with the place. Conversely the saddest expats are the ones whose 5 year contract is up, and they have all their perks taken away and they have to go home to the snow! Someone once said:

 “Never leave the decisions of your family and yourself in the hands of another man because they have a family too, and you will always be second fiddle”

Take an English teaching position

The single easiest and most popular jobs offered to foreigners are English teaching jobs, more often than not English teachers are 20-30 years old Gap year students and they can annoy the hell out of you if you are unlucky enough to be sat next to them on a visa run bus to Laos, with their effervescent view of life and vitality, whereas you sit not joining in miserably reciting facts from your last seminar in your head about how 35% of them won’t even make it to 65 years of age! Then you realise how old and grumpy you have become.  There are many TEFL schools and for a couple of week’s training and a thousand odd dollars you can then teach kids for around 35-50,000 Thai bahts a month, that’s a few beers if you have no family or kids, they generally will stay out of town in apartments for 5-10, 000 Bahts, travel and food is cheap, so it’s hardly surprising there are so many English teachers in South East Asia.

Online Businesses

Since the turn of the century many people have seen the opportunity to make money online and have taken to it like a duck to water and many have given up and gone home. Like anything it is not easy, it was easier back then during the pioneering stages.

You’ll need some web design knowledge or online marketing skills and if you can deal with clients outside Thailand and get paid online then Bob’s your Uncle Fanny’s your Aunt to use the vernacular.

Learn online-marketing skills in Thailand

Learn online-marketing skills in Thailand

Most will get an Education Visa and learn a language whist they are here. There are many people here making a living off E Bay and other auction sites, jewellery websites etc.

When you consider the very basic minimal survival is 30,000 THB per month you can eat well and live privately out of town and actually have a beer or two now and again, this will give you the building blocks to build your online presence and Internet empire and eventually your own business with virtually no overheads to worry about, and a great life here. This is the route I took.

This brings me full circle back to the guy that turns up after he read a few forums about life in South East Asia, about the beaches, the beautiful smiling people and cheap cigarettes, and decides to go networking for a paid job within an International firm, I would say have about 2 years money lined up, because you are a little bit late, networking events have always had a good percentage of Job hunters who have invested the time branding themselves to International companies here and even done some non paid contracts to prove themselves, some I know are on very long probation periods.

If you are as good and as qualified as you say you are it should not be long before one of the Head Hunters in Thailand tap on your shoulder, it’s a nice feeling when a Head Hunter has interest in you because these guys know the people you want to know, the decision makers at the top of firms all over Asia, that’s their job to know them and they have the positions you need it’s their job to fit you right into those positions.

That being said if you know you have great credentials there is no harm in finding a head hunter before they find you, this way you may find that you get the dream job here you have always wanted a lot quicker.

Remember fortune favours the brave!