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National airline tops business students’ wish list: survey

Jul 11. 2019
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By The Nation

Thai business/commerce students chose Thai Airways International as the number 1 on the Universum's 2019 list of 100 Most Attractive Employers followed by Google and PPT respectively. PPT, Siam Cement Group and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand meanwhile remained the top three in the view of Thai engineering students.

It was also found that the students’ salary expectations continued to decline although it is encouraging to see the gender gap in pay expectations is getting smaller, according to the findings from the Thailand portion of the annual global talent survey by the leading research and consulting firm. 

The average expected annual salary among business/commerce students was Bt369,368 and slightly higher among engineering students at Bt397,019. The female business/commerce students expected Bt366,862 (compared to Bt413,698 in 2018) while the males expected Bt358,910 (compared to Bt501,758 in 2018). 

Among female engineering students, it was Bt381,671, a decrease from Bt433,228, and among males it was Bt407,541, down from Bt485,959. 

The online survey involved more than 6,000 students from Thailand’s leading universities with business/commerce (1,342 students) and engineering (1,819 students) being the two main fields of study in the survey’s focus.

To better understand their career aspirations, the students were asked to rank their top career goals. “Having a work/life balance”, the number one career goal of last year, slid to third place as business/commerce students this year prioritised “to be secure or stable in my job”, the answer also given by the engineering students. The business/commerce students’ second and third most important career goals are “to be autonomous or independent” and “to have work/life balance”, while the engineering students selected “to have work/life balance” and “to be autonomous or independent” respectively.

Both business/commerce and engineering students mostly seek out employers who can provide them with a “competitive base salary”, “competitive benefits” and “a friendly work environment”.

Unlike their international peers, Thai students do not have a strong desire to work for an international organisation as their first job after graduation. Instead, a higher percentage of students would prefer to start their professional career at a national company.

Pratik Sabherwal, regional head of advisory for Universum APAC said: “The recently concluded national elections and Thailand 4.0 initiatives towards digital transformation have given rise to concerns about stability. These macro trends go hand in hand with Thai students’ preference for security and stability and working for local champions which are in general perceived to be more stable than the global companies.”

Asked which industries they would prefer to work in after graduation, the business/commerce students picked "tourism, hospitality, and leisure activities", "financial services" and "real estate". The percentage of students choosing “auditing and accounting” significantly declined. 

For engineering students, the top three preferred industries were " industrial engineering and manufacturing", "construction and civil engineering", and "technology hardware and equipment", while there was an increase in the number of engineering students selecting the automotive industry as one of their preferred choices.

Thai students stood out from their regional peers in terms of the online platforms they have used to learn more about their potential employers. 

Facebook, Google and Instagram were chosen as the main social media channels used. About 77 per cent of business/commerce students and 75 per cent of engineering students use Facebook to research employers, hence employers may need to look into how they can leverage Facebook and curate a more engaging message that targets their potential employees, the survey found.

While LinkedIn is among the top ranked channels used by students in most countries, in Thailand, only 9 per cent of business/commerce students and 5 per cent of engineering students used it, the survey found.

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