Since the turn of the century, over 100 million people have gained jobs across Asean. The region has seen some of the largest economic growth of the last half century, with GDP rising from US$37.6 billion in 1970 to $2.6 trillion in 2016, thanks mainly to private sector businesses.
Strong candidates are plentiful (RECRUITdee jobs are often filled in less than a week), but in the not-too-distant future, those leaving education might find they’re second-best to some tough new competition.
72% of graduate jobs affected
Last week, Deputy Minister of Education, Udom Kachintorn, announced that artificial intelligence (AI) and robots could replace 72% of university graduates jobs by 2030. To those in the Bangkok IT industry, this is nothing new – we’ve all been hearing this from international government officials and industry experts for the last 10 to 20 years. But it’s the first time a Thai Minister has discussed the threat to local jobs.
Education should support changing Thai jobs
Far from being a negative, the rise of AI in Bangkok and Thailand is actually a positive, as long as the education system evolves. “Schools and universities must change from being just classrooms to becoming learning spaces. Pedagogues must assume new roles as coaches who provide guidance, not only giving lectures”, the Deputy Minister said.
Bangkok IT jobs will benefit
As ever with the wide scale introduction of AI across various industries, Thai jobs will change. “Some jobs will disappear, others will grow, and jobs that don’t even exist today could become commonplace”, Kachintorn said. One thing’s for sure, IT jobs in Bangkok are sure to receive a boost, as more tech companies set up to develop AI software and more Thai businesses need in-house technicians to manage their automation.
Only skilled jobs will survive
The Deputy Minister did have a warning for one particular sector that may suffer the most from the rise of the machines. Administrative and office workers with basic skills will be the most at risk of unemployment, which only goes to strengthen the case for the education system adapting to the new Thai job market.
“Universities and teachers must embrace change by using digital technology to make their classes and content more lively, relevant and responsive to the demands and lifestyles of a new generation”, he said. “IT companies like Google and Microsoft now offer online courses. Their courses are cheaper and easier to access than those provided by universities. And students don’t have to sit in classes for four years to study unrelated programmes just to earn their degree.”
dee’s view – James Lale, Partner
At RECRUITdee, we’re seeing strong growth in IT, Creative, Marketing and Finance roles across Bangkok and Thailand. The economy is only going one way and the positions we fill require experience, skill and industry knowledge. As a result, we see AI supporting these roles rather than replacing them.
Speaking to our clients around the Asia Pacific region, AI is a hot topic and definitely on their radar, but they see automation as a way to improve Customer Service and increase data use, for a more personalised stakeholder experience.