Hiring local Thai staff is a crucial step for anyone trying to run a business in Thailand. If you’re just starting out with your Thailand-based business you’ve probably got many questions:
- Where do I find the right people?
- How much do Thai workers typically earn?
- What can I expect from my Thai employees?
- Is there an easy way to hire talented Thai workers?
Let’s take each of these topics one by one to ease your worries and guide you through the process of hiring Thai staff.
How to find talented Thai staff
You don’t want just any workers, but you want good ones. So where do you find them?
One option is to place a job ad online. JobsDB.com is one of the largest online databases of jobs and jobseekers in Thailand. It’s a decent place to start looking for Thais with good English language ability.
Many Thai professionals are also on LinkedIn, so posting a job ad there will surely get some responses. You can also directly reach out to freelancers on LinkedIn by using the search function. Start by entering an appropriate search term in the homepage, such as “python developer bangkok freelance“, “ios developer thailand looking“, or “graphic designer bangkok available“.
The bold words in these sample search terms are key to narrowing down the large list of user profiles on LinkedIn based on specific wording they are using in their profiles.
That will get you a list of a couple hundred possible candidates, but then comes the hard part—you’ll still have to manually reach out to each individual to see if they may be interested in working for your company or even if they’d be a good fit.
You could reduce a lot of the work for yourself by using Iglu’s Ngaai service to match talent for you (more on this below).
Average salaries of Thai employees
The average monthly salary in Thailand across all sectors at the end of 2018 was just over 14,000 THB, or approximately $440 USD. This includes unskilled workers and minimum wage earners, who earn just 308-330 THB per day depending on the province. Salaries for skilled workers in Bangkok tend to be higher than for the rest of the country.
According to data from the Thailand Board of Investment, monthly salaries for Junior Software Developers start at around 30,000 THB, while Senior Developers can fetch 70,000-120,000 THB and up. Salaries for Human Resource staff tend to fall in the range of 16,000-35,000 THB/month depending on experience. Salaries for Accountants are in the range of 20,000-50,000 THB. While QA Engineers and Mechanical Engineers run about 18,000-50,000 THB/month.
What to expect from Thai staff
There are bound to be some large cultural differences between you and your Thai staff. Getting familiar with Thai culture will help to reduce any potential misunderstandings.
One important point to keep in mind is that Thailand is a hierarchical society. Juniors and those of lower status will tend to defer and show respect to their seniors. As such, Thai employees in a company will quickly determine their age and status relative to each other in order to adhere to the usual social rules. The downside of this is that junior staff may have a tendency to remain silent rather than speak up when they encounter a problem that would cause a senior member to “lose face” if called out.
This can also occur in positive situations, where the junior employee has special knowledge or develops a good idea but decides not to share it to avoid “one-upping” a senior employee.
Thai culture is very social, and sharing food is an important social activity for Thais. If you employ an office of Thai staff, you’ll probably find them nibbling on shared snacks throughout the day. They’ll also want to go out to lunch in a group typically.
Thais tend to be good humored and make lots of jokes. They can get very cheeky with their jokes, as well, and will commonly crack jokes that could get one in trouble in the west. Teasing type jokes won’t be directed at those higher in the social hierarchy, though.
You want your Thai employees to be responsible with their duties, but make sure you keep the work atmosphere from getting too serious. You want to keep the office environment lighthearted so that Thai staff can interact socially with their peers to bond. It’s important that they feel like they belong.
Unlike in some other Asian societies, punctuality is not a big Thai trait—and Bangkok traffic can often be to blame. While they should be on time for important business meetings to avoid “losing face”, you can probably expect staff to show up late for casual appointments or after-work activities.
On the topic of meetings—Thai companies tend to waste a lot of time in useless meetings. The need to follow the rules of social hierarchy is the main reason that Thai business meetings can be so inefficient. If you want your Thai staff to work more efficiently, try to discourage them from conducting large meetings with each other.
These days there are many alternative methods of communication and decision-making available. Grouping your Thai staff into small teams can be an effective management strategy. It allows them to work in a social environment and learn directly from their more experienced peers.
Interviewing Thai Staff
Due to the language barrier and many cultural differences, you may not be the best person to judge the character or fit of a potential Thai hire. When conducting interviews, it would be beneficial for a current Thai staff member to sit in, if at all possible. They may be able to gain some insight into the potential positives or negatives of the candidate that you’re not able to notice.
Hire Thai Tech Talent with Iglu
Are you looking for local tech talent in Thailand? Iglu hires Thai professionals specialising in software development, design and other technical roles. We offer our services on a team extension, managed team or project basis. Contact us now for more info.