Until recently, working in Thailand has been an easy next step for many seduced by the country’s sunny shores and warm cultural climate. The Thai economy has, however, changed in the face of political instability, though there are signs of recovery.

While the majority of job opportunities can be found in Bangkok, there are also many expats who choose to work in the surrounding countryside or the picturesque southern islands. This lets them live in natural splendour and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle available to foreign residents.

Job market in Thailand

Thailand's government restricts the hiring of foreigners in certain roles. This is done to protect Thai nationals and prevent increased poverty. Expats are largely restricted from gaining employment in industries that require manual labour such as fishing and wood carving, but this is only limited to around 40 vocations, so expats can still find work in other sectors.

Apart from income generated by tourism, Thailand's economy also heavily relies on exports. It's one of the world’s largest agricultural exporters of rice, sugar, rubber and shrimp and is a major producer of export cars, textiles and electronics.

Thailand also has strong manufacturing, logistics and communications industries. Most expats who work in Thailand have a job in the service sector, specifically in the tourism and teaching industries. The IT industry is also growing in Thailand, so expats can also find opportunities in this sector. 

Finding a job in Thailand

Expats with the right qualifications can usually find opportunities online, while many others first move to the country, take a course and then start the job hunt.

The highest-paying teaching jobs are at international schools in Thailand, while English-language schools are also a popular option. Tourism is another popular source of work for foreigners, particularly for expats living outside Bangkok.

It's important to remember that expats hired or transferred from overseas tend to make higher salaries than those who find a job in Thailand after they arrive. 

While Thai companies often prefer to hire locally when it comes to professional fields like accounting, engineering and law, there are multinational corporations that may be able to offer expats with specialised skills opportunities. A work permit is needed to work legally in Thailand, and this is frequently organised by the hiring company.

Useful links

  • The Bangkok Post offers a job portal on their website. 
  • Craigslist hosts job listings across several industries. 
  • Newcomers to Thailand seeking teaching jobs should look no further than Ajarn.com

Work culture in Thailand

An expat's workday and work week will largely depend on their industry of employment. Jobs in the tourism industry frequently have irregular hours and shifts. 

The working week in Thailand is officially from Monday to Saturday, although many businesses work until Friday or are only open for half a day on Saturdays. Legally, employees can work up to a maximum of 48 hours a week. 

Hierarchy, harmonious relationships and collective identity are integral to the Thai workplace. Expats in more formal industries will be expected to wear suitable attire and be punctual for business meetings to maintain their professional standing.