August 28, 2023
BANGKOK – The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) has warned that new university graduates may find it tough to get jobs as demand is on the decline.
This warning came in a recent report released by the agency, which said that new university graduates may be hired at lower salaries or jobs may be given to those with lower qualifications.
It said that though the employment situation has improved after the pandemic, the Thai labour market is suffering a mismatch in terms of qualifications.
The report cited figures from the Board of Investment (BOI), which showed that demand for university graduates had dropped in 2022 compared to 2018.
According to BOI, businesses hired 95,566 employees in 2018, while the number of people employed rose to 168,992 in 2022. However, despite the increase in people employed, the ratio of jobs given to university graduates dropped from 30.1% of overall employment to just 17.2% last year.
At the same time, the ratio of jobs for those finishing vocational schools dropped slightly from 23.7% in 2018 to 22.5% in 2022, while the ratio of employment for secondary school graduates rose from 41.1% in 2018 to 57.3% in 2022.
The report said companies that have received BOI privileges to operate in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) also hired more people with lower education levels.
The report said 419 projects in the EEC employed 52,322 people last year. The employees’ educational levels can be divided as:
• Secondary school: 59.1%
• Vocational school: 25.2%
• University: 14.7%
The report also pointed out that there were more vacancies for people with secondary education, especially in the auto and auto parts, electrical appliances and electronic industries.
The report specified the ratio of workers in these industries based on their educational levels as follows:
• Secondary school: Auto (63.9%), electric appliances and electronics (63.2%)
• Vocational school: Auto (22.5%), electrical appliances and electronics (23.6%)
• University: Auto (13.5%), electrical appliances and electronics (12.9%)
The only industries that have taken in more university graduates are digital, agriculture and food-processing sectors, the report said.
It added that in 2021, some 1.902 million students were enrolled in university compared to 374,962 in vocational schools. Hence, more university graduates are expected to be jobless, the report said.