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Thai students seek job security with local firms amid change to 4.0, survey says

Jul 17. 2018
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By The Nation

WHILE MANY Thai students hope to work for global giants such as Google and Microsoft, most still consider domestic firms and state enterprises ideal employers, a study has revealed.

An annual global survey by research and consulting firm Universum found Google to be the top choice for Thai business and commerce students, followed by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Thai Airways International, Siam Cement Group and PTT. 

The findings, released today, indicate the next five most popular companies in order are: GMM Grammy, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), Line Corp, Workpoint Entertainment and automaker BMW Group. 

 Of the top 10 employers, seven were founded in Thailand. 

Engineering students regard PTT, Siam Cement, Egat, Google and THAI as the five best employers in Thailand. 

Google is the only foreign brand. 

The engineering students’ sixth to 10th choices would be, in order: Chevron, Toyota, Microsoft, BMW and CH Karnchang, the last being a Thai firm. 

“Thai students differ from many of their Asian counterparts, who mainly aspire to work at multinationals,” said Rachele Focardi, chief strategy officer for the region at Universum. 

“Thai students prefer privately owned domestic organisations.” 

More than 1.3 million students in 57 countries participated in the online survey, including 4,749 at Thai universities.

It found Thai students’ primary career goals were job security and stability, in contrast to students everywhere else who named work-life balance as their uppermost concern. Work-life balance was of secondary consideration for Thais, and their third priority was “autonomy or independence”.

Changing priorities

“As Thailand’s economy undergoes a major shift under the 4.0 digital-economy initiative, students’ quest for a secure and stable career increases,” said Pratik Sabherwal, head of advisory for Universum in the region. 

“Thai students’ affinity for security and stability is much stronger compared to students elsewhere in the region.” 

The top five attributes Thai students look for in a job are a competitive base salary (chosen by 56.3 per cent), competitive benefits (54.3), a friendly work environment (50.7), secure employment (47.6), and a clear path to advancement (47.4).

“[Employers] need to fully understand what it is their target talent seeks from them and they also need to be effective in communicating it,” said Mike Parsons, head of brand activation. 

“Unlike anywhere else in the region, salary and benefits come out on top in Thailand, which means that being transparent about intrinsic rewards is more of an advantage in this market than in others. 

“Employers who are perceived as paying well and offer a secure |and friendly working environment will find themselves in pole position for the best talent in Thailand.”

The study also showed that Thai students’ salary expectations after graduation have decreased from two years ago. 

The average expected annual salary among female business students was Bt413,698, compared to Bt438,734 in 2016. Among males, |it was Bt501,757, down from Bt515,316. 

Among female engineering students, it was Bt433,227, a decrease from Bt472,623, and among |males it was Bt485,958, down from Bt541,408. 

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