RECRUITdee insight: Spotlight on the manufacturing and engineering sector
Three years into the Thailand 4.0 industrial development plan, and the country is seeing continued growth across all sectors of manufacturing and engineering. For the talent market, this means an increasingly skilled workforce, and more specialist roles at all levels. Our in-house Head of Engineering Recruitment, Dale Campbell, takes a look at the state of the sector and the future impact on the job market.
Not that long ago, Thailand’s industrial sector consisted of low-skilled natural resource exploitation. How things have changed. Now, the country has successfully transitioned into production, manufacturing and engineering, with an increasingly diversified and profitable economic and export profile.
At the start of Thailand 4.0 in 2016, manufacturing and engineering employed 16% of workers across the country, creating over 9.3m jobs for the Thai workforce, and representing 27.4% of overall GDP. Twice as much as retail, and four times larger than agriculture. The evolution of the Thai industry has created employment for millions and undoubtedly given rise to the need for specialist talent at the higher-value end.
Attracting major players in manufacturing
Thailand’s manufacturing sector is one of the biggest in the ASEAN region, and the country boasts the second-largest economy in the trading zone. This powerhouse status, combined with economic stability and improving infrastructure, has proved to be an attractive proposition for foreign investment.
Investments from international electronics companies such as Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Sony, Hitachi and Mitsubishi have proven that Thailand can manufacture, produce and export efficiently. This, in turn, has given the government the confidence to push on with the next phase of Thailand 4.0, taking the sector up the value chain, creating more specialist manufacturing and engineering jobs.
Fast facts: outcompeting the neighbours
– Thailand ranked 14th out of 40 economies measured in Deloitte’s Global Manufacturing Competitive Index 2016, ahead of regional competitors such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
– In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, it ranked 38th out of 140 countries.
The evolution to more value
Thailand is still very much an emerging market, and with that status comes the risk of slowed economic development. To combat the short-term thinking that has left other similar economies middle-income focused in a slow market, the Thai government is endorsing high-demand, high-value, high-tech industries to help drive up incomes.
The industrial development plan has the long-term aim of moving away from a production-based economy, towards a service-based one. This tactic is promoting investment in tech-driven industries. The result could see even further increase in specialist manufacturing and engineering jobs in Thailand, providing high-income positions for graduates, intermediate and experienced local, and international, talent.
A high-tech (and high-demand) future
The Thai government want the economy to become high value and knowledge-centric. This, combined with a highly skilled workforce, high productivity, and approximately 100,000 annual engineering, technology and science graduates, creates the basis for strong success.
The demand for skilled individuals, and the number of manufacturing and engineering jobs in Thailand, is only going up. As the industrial sector continues to mature and evolve from production-centric into high-tech, service-led verticals, Thailand will seek the very best in local and global talent to ensure growth is sustained, and they stay ahead of their ASEAN and worldwide competitors.