Is finding a job in Thailand easy or hard? This depends on who you ask or what you read.
For some people, Thailand is where you come for vacation. But if you ask me, you can work in Thailand.
“How?” you ask.
Just follow this guide and you’ll find out how to search for a job while in your home country or Thailand, what requirements and qualifications you need, what websites and recruitment companies will give you the best shot at landing a job, how to approach companies of all sizes.
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- 1 Before Flying to Thailand
- 2 Requirements for Finding Work in Thailand
- 3 Generic Job Websites
- 4 Industry-Specific Job Websites
- 5 Other Job Websites
- 6 Recruitment Companies
- 7 Salary
- 8 Now, On to You
Before Flying to Thailand
You’ve decided to work in Thailand—congrats! Now you’ll want to know how to search for jobs. To start, you’ll have to answer these two questions:
- Should I find a job before moving to Thailand?
- Should I get on a plane and search for a job in Thailand?
The short and unhelpful answer: it depends.
The more helpful answer: the more the job pays, the more likely you can apply before you get to Thailand.
If a job pays more than 80,000 baht a month, the employer may have to extend their search outside of Thailand. Finding a job from your home country for less money is possible but less common.
An HR manager friend in a real estate media company has this to say about getting hired from abroad: it doesn’t matter if you’re already in or out of Thailand.
A sign that a company would consider you from outside of Thailand is if they post jobs on LinkedIn, JobsDB, or other job boards that cater to all nationalities.
If you meet these companies’ needs, they’ll interview you via Skype and shortlist you for a face-to-face final interview.
If you’re applying from your home country, companies will ask you why you’re considering a job in Thailand. If you’re applying for a job in Thailand you should expect and prepare for this question.
A friend of mine who recruits for a multinational hospitality and eCommerce company since 2012 said this question gives them a clear idea of a candidate’s purpose for applying.
Some companies would be happy to interview you via Skype or pay for you to move to Thailand if you meet their needs.
But others wouldn’t entertain the idea of interviewing you if your resume shows a non-Thailand address.
Certain companies prefer to meet you face-to-face. I often here this:
We never consider candidates who aren’t here yet.”
We always consider candidates from abroad.”
It depends on how specific, urgent, or important the job is to an employer.
If you want to find out how find a job from your home country, check out our Thailand Starter Kit. You’ll discover how to sell yourself and search off-the-beaten-path work options. These tricks will increase your chances of getting a job here.
It will also save you $1000s per year while living in Thailand.
Requirements for Finding Work in Thailand
While you could find a job with your ability to speak English (or any other language), it’ll be less than what’s needed to cover your living expenses. Aside from language, here’s what you’re going to need:
- Language skills
- Cultural adaptability
- Geographical flexibility
- Work experience in Thailand
- Health certificate
- Work visa and permit
Lets take a look at each one in more detail.
Do you need a degree to work in Thailand? Lots of people ask this question.
The degrees that’ll help you find a high-paying job in Thailand are the same degrees earning you the highest income abroad.
STEM degrees (degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math) give you the best odds. But if you have a degree from a business school, finding a job is still easy.
In some fields, you’re limited to the type of work you can do because of legal constraints.
Medical pros can’t practice as doctors. But you can do research.
Legal pros can’t join the bar. But a large number of law firms would hire you as a consultant.
For certain jobs and/or employers, a college diploma isn’t everything. NGOs, media companies, and even schools may hire you if you’re without a degree.
A friend of mine who works at a real estate media company said that for sales and editorial jobs, the company’s hiring team strays from asking questions about university degrees.
The same goes in the tech sector. People with the right skills can find jobs with work permits without holding a university degree. This is also assuming you have at least 5 years of working experience.
While legitimate experience-and-skills-only jobs exist, having a university degree can make your work permit process a lot easier.
Do you need to speak Thai to find a job in Thailand?
The simple answer is no.
You may find work with a multicultural company where people speak English and Thai.
Do you need to speak Thai to thrive in Thailand?
The simple answer to that question would be yes.
Tom Sorensen, who worked as a recruiter at Grant Thornton, put it like this:
Foreigners who can communicate in Thai at a business level always find it easier. But note that I say business level—your Thai must be good enough to conduct business or staff meetings in Thai.”
But what if you can speak a few words in Thai? Okay, holding meetings is out of the question. But you can build some rapport with your Thai coworkers.
If you learn how to speak Thai, the skill makes your life in Thailand a whole lot easier. And they’ll make your job search more fruitful.
If you can adapt to a multicultural workplace it’ll raise your chances of being hired.
You may have spent a few days or weeks in Bangkok or Phuket and think you know enough about Thai culture. But it’s easy to miss the more subtle aspects of working in a different culture.
Have a look at this cross-cultural management guide to Thailand to get a better idea of what you might be getting yourself into.
But relax. A little research can help.
Books like Culture Shock! Thailand cover a lot that would prove useful for a career in Thailand, including:
- background on Thai business and culture
- differences in Asian and Western management styles
- building rapport with colleagues, key government agencies, and labor department staff
- how to offer and receive criticism (applicable to expats with managerial jobs)
- other systems ingrained in the Thai system of doing business
This article on the common miscommunications between non-Thais and Thais points out the mishaps that occur between Westerners and Thais. If you’re thinking about working in Thailand, it’s worth reading.
You have to experience the rest for yourself. There’s something to be said about your Thai colleagues’ penchant for pungent breakfast dishes and other real or imagined idiosyncrasies.
Adapt your work ethics and personality to fit your job in Thailand. It’ll help your employer decide to hire you or keep you after your probation, which lasts for three months.
How can you showcase that you have the courage to move to and stay in Thailand?
Maybe you have the chops. The staying part is huge.
According to one recruiter, about 25% of all people who are brought to Thailand leave within the first six months.
Past work experience in the region is a big plus. This is why it’s a lot easier to find your second job than your first. So think twice before declining a job offer.
If you’re just starting your career, you can highlight travel experience on your resume.
Aside from your credentials, your nationality matters in your job hunt.
Hiring you and getting your work permit takes a lot of work on your employers end. Hauling your documents to government agencies is something a company wants to avoid.
So unless you bring something worthy to the table, you’ll get passed up for a job that a Thai can do.
Most companies need a good reason to choose you over a Thai. Also, there are limits on the kind of work you can do in Thailand.
Some nationalities have other challenges. The Philippines’ government has special needs for companies abroad looking to hire Filipinos.
Once companies reach a certain number of Filipino workers, companies need to go through a procedure to recruit more Filipinos.
This rule affects large corporations. But because of these rules, your chances of finding a job may lessen.
The Brewed in Bangkok podcast has an episode that features the experience of a Filipino living and working in Bangkok. The show gives you some more insight on the topic.
It’s challenging for Westerners to find jobs in Thailand’s service industry. But if you come from the West you can land a job in education, marketing, and hospitality.
If you come from one of the surrounding Asian nations, you could work in hospitality, customer service, and reception.
You have a much better experience finding a job in Thailand if you held one here before.
If a candidate has no work experience from Thailand, it’s 99.9% sure no client here wants to hire such candidate. It isn’t enough that you have visited Thailand as a tourist and love the people and country.”
Others are optimistic on the chances of first-timers landing a job in the country. Travis Byrd, who recruits for Agoda, thinks non-Thais have a good chance of finding work in Thailand. But they must bring the skills and mindset the company in question wants.
If you want to work legally in Thailand, you’ll need a work permit. And in order to get a work permit, you’ll need a health certificate.
You can get a health certificate at most clinics, government, and private hospitals in Thailand. Hospitals and clinics give you a health certificate after they check you. It’s an easy and cheap exam.
But the cheaper medical exams check you for the basics. If you want the best medical exam, check out Bumrungrad Hospital.
Or you can read this article to find out more on medical checkups in Bangkok.
Work Visa and Permit
You may be tempted to work in Thailand while on a tourist visa. You might even be offered a job by a company who knows you have a tourist visa.
But working in Thailand on a tourist visa is illegal. You shouldn’t work unless you have the right visa and work permit.
You can learn how to get those in our guide to work permits in Thailand.
Generic Job Websites
When looking for work in Thailand, the internet is your friend. The success rate of landing a job though the internet is higher if you’re persistent. Here are the website’s I’m going to cover in this section:
- Work Venture
In my first few tries to find a job in Bangkok, I leaned toward JobsDB, one of the most reliable job portals in Thailand.
There are a variety of jobs you can find in JobsDB. The best way to do it is by customizing your search by job title, locale, job function, and salary range.
You can expand your search choices by career level (entry, middle, senior, top), employment type (full time, part time, freelance, etc.) and education level (doctorate, master, degree, etc.).
The great thing about JobsDB is that you can set up job alerts based on your search terms. Setting up an alert helps because you get email updates for jobs with your chosen job titles and keywords (Eg, Data Analysis, Marketing Communication, Hospitality, Reservations).
Jobs available for you on JobsDB vary. Most ads leave out preferred nationalities. Rather, job posts indicate whether a job is for “Thai nationals only” or “open to foreigners.”
The thing that could discourage you from using JobsDB is that most responses to applications are slow and infrequent compared to other job sites.
Although there is a tracking function for jobs you’ve applied for, which shows your application’s status (under the ‘Applications history’ tab), responses from the recruiters who post on the site seem rather slow.
Although JobsDB is where I landed my first job, I should have expanded my choices.
I applied for jobs such as Financial Research Analyst, Marketing Assistant, and Personal Assistant for a Real Estate Business that needed Thais.
As a result, I ended up with few interviews after trying a lot.
Although less structured than JobsDB, Craigslist (Thailand) was a useful job-hunting site for me (it’s where I found my second job).
Craigslist lists job by category: Admin, Marketing, Finance, Technical Support, and so on. The website is an ideal spot to look for freelance work.
The main advantage to using Craigslist for job search is its simplicity. The exchange between you and job posters is faster than in most job search sites.
One of the differences between Craigslist and other job sites such as JobsDB and LinkedIn is that job posters on Craigslist are more upfront about their needs.
Also, with much fewer postings, browsing is easier since the headlines fall under job categories that ease a user’s search.
It wouldn’t be strange to find job ads with specific headlines such as “Thai & English-speaking Telemarketing Team Development Manager” under its “Marketing” category or “Keynote Designer” under the “Web/html/Info” category.
I saw the value of maintaining a LinkedIn profile after moving to Thailand.
Through LinkedIn, I landed job number three and have seen that the time it takes for recruiters to respond was also fast.
There are a few ways that help you make the most out of LinkedIn. Here’s what I suggest for everyone looking to find a job on the platform.
Company Career Pages
A friend and former coworker who uses LinkedIn to search for and recruit people posts job ads on the company’s career page and gets over 50 responses.
This is due to the ease of applying through the site.
According to my friend, here’s how the recruit process works:
- you apply through a company’s LinkedIn careers page
- the company’s recruiter narrows down the qualified people for interviews
- the company shortlists your name if you interest them
- the company contacts you for an interview
This recruiter’s claim supports this process. There is no singular tried-and-tested way of getting hired by a Thai company through LinkedIn.
This explains how I got hired on my third job via the networking site.
When I found a job through LinkedIn, it wasn’t because of any keywords in my summary that got me noticed. I got hired because I passed through the company’s routine shortlisting process.
Work Venture is a newer job board in Thailand. They’re smaller than their competitors. But I know that employers using the platform are happy with the results. Happy employers mean better job ads.
Work Venture launched as a website for student jobs and internships with a strong focus on the local workforce market. But it’s moving towards becoming one the of the primary job websites in Thailand.
I suggest looking into Work Venture as part of your job hunting process.
Industry-Specific Job Websites
Aside from general job websites, there are a significant number of industry-specific job websites.
If your skills apply to these industries, you sometimes have better odds finding something there than on the more general ones.
Here are some of the more popular industries in Thailand:
Now let’s take a look at the websites that help you find work in each sector.
The demand for Western programmers, developers, digital marketers, and graphic designers in Thailand is on the rise.
To find a suitable career, check out AngelList. They post jobs for thousands of startups and well-known companies throughout Asia.
If you’d like to find out about Thai job websites that focus on IT jobs, read our guide to IT jobs in Thailand.
Do you own your own tech freelancing business outside of Thailand? Then check out Iglu’s relocation service.
They’ll help you legally relocate to Thailand and get you the right visa and work permit. You can then run your business through Iglu while living in Thailand.
You need at least a bachelor’s degree if you want to land the higher paying teaching jobs in Thailand.
If you didn’t graduate with a teaching related degree, you may also need a TEFL certificate.
And it’s better to get your TEFL in Thailand from a Thai Ministry of Education accredited school such as Text-and-Talk Academy.
These schools can guarantee you a teaching job if you’re a native speaker after taking their 4-week TEFL course and getting an “A” on your final exam.
Another good resource for those who’re looking for a teaching job is Ajarn.com. The site caters to teachers in Thailand.
Ajarn features job postings, forums, news, a blog, and other useful sources for Thailand-based teachers.
Since this is one of the best sites for teaching jobs, you might as well create an account. With an account, you can upload your resume and display your profile, which shows a snapshot of your credentials to employers looking for teachers.
Ajarn’s Featured Jobs page is where you want to go. While searching for teaching jobs on JobsDB yields many results, Ajarn.com’s jobs search page is more tailored toward education pros.
For one, the pay rate is displayed along with the ad and the exact area of expertise needed is right there on the headline.
Ajarn also lets you filter searches based on your preferred employer type, area of work type of work and pay rate.
Ajarn Recruit posts both teaching and non-teaching jobs. But it’s less comprehensive and as updated as Ajarn.com.
It does expand your teaching job search in Thailand. And that is a good thing.
You can search by job types and check out its few non-teaching jobs within the hospitality, food and beverage, and service industries.
But these teaching sites may leave out job offers from international schools.
You have two choices for finding jobs with Non-governmental Organizations, or NGOs: ReliefWeb and Thai NGO.
ReliefWeb is a job board for people looking for NGO jobs worldwide, including Thailand. It has listings for internships, senior level jobs, and other NGO jobs.
Development work is also pretty common in Thailand. Thai NGO has an exhaustive list of jobs available and gets updated every day.
Although the site is in Thai, the job ads are both for Thais and non-Thais.
Thailand offers amazing hospitality. So expect plenty of work in this field. Here’s where to look.
Thai Hotel Job.com has an exhaustive list of hospitality jobs, including hotels and resorts, cruise operators, airline, restaurants, travel agencies and spas, with listings for boutique hotels, mid-range hotels, and 5-star hotels and resorts throughout Thailand.
Marketing Oops! is a Thai website – though in this case for the digital marketing crowd instead of the programmer community.
Their specialist job board can also be worth checking out if you’re working in that space.
If you’re looking for press work, explore the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand.
Its job board has few ads. But postings for mid- to senior management level jobs do exist.
Tip: Sign up as a member to get a weekly bulletin. You’ll get a list of open jobs for the jobs I mentioned above.
Other Job Websites
The sites above should help you find work in Thailand. These are the more popular sites for job search. But there are other sites you can explore in case you’re looking for more choices.
Most of these have either a large overlap with the above sites, have a limited number of jobs posted, or aren’t as relevant for the Thai market:
If you’re working in certain industries, getting in touch with one of the several recruiters in Thailand might help.
One of the best reasons to do this is having your background matched with the right employers by recruiters.
This may be useful for expats. Recruiters can decide if a company would consider you with no Thai language skills.
Here’s what you’re going to learn about in this section:
- Headhunters, recruiters, and staffing agencies
- Pros and cons of recruitment companies
- List of recruitment companies
- Off-the-beaten path options
Headhunters, Recruiters, and Staffing Agencies
While for the sake of simplicity I’m referring to all companies recruit in some way.
The main difference is if they recruit active candidates who are already looking for a new job or if they’re trying to recruit passive candidates who aren’t job hunting. Some companies do both.
Here’s a quick summary of industry terms:
- Headhunting: Finding a potential fit for a job through pro-active outreach to potential candidates. This approach tends to be more common for management jobs and specialist roles.
- Executive Search: Finding a potential fit for executive jobs through headhunting means.
- Staffing: Operational handling of recruitment. Often companies use that to hire a large number of non-executive employees. Job ads are the most common way.
- Recruiting: Can mean any of the above, depending on how the company defines itself. For you as a job seeker, it’s obvious, depending if they messaged you or you messaged them first.
If you want to increase your changes of getting approached by recruiters, make sure your profile on LinkedIn is up to date and includes the right keywords.
You also want to go to conferences and other events in your industry frequented by people with similar backgrounds. This holds true if you’re outside of Thailand.
Recruiters get paid commissions of up to 30% of their annual salary for finding workers. You can count on them to build a network and find people who are a potential fit for the job openings they’re covering.
Pros and Cons of Recruitment Companies
One reason to look at recruiters is the payment these companies receive for getting you hired and past probation.
The fact that an company is paying that kind of money means a few things:
- it’s important for them to hire the right person
- they need workers fast
- they want the candidate to stick around for a long time
This is all good news for you.
The bad news is that recruiters cover a small percentage of job openings. And the likelihood of getting a job through them is rather low.
Yet, you never know what contacts might pan out in the future. So if you have a chance to build a network in your industry or function, you should take advantage of it.
A word of warning on dealing with third party recruiters: the employer pays the recruiter fees.
Never agree to pay for any placement, a pay-cut, or any other form of compensation that comes out of your pocket.
Recruiters bill your employer.
List of Recruitment Companies
There are plenty of recruiters in Bangkok alone. While I had in-person dealings with some of them, I have little first-hand info on a majority of the recruiters and can’t confirm if they’re the real deal.
Please use common sense when dealing with any of these:
JAC Recruitment Thailand offers staffing services for local and multinational Thai companies in the fields of sales/marketing, accounting/financial services, industrial/manufacturing, IT, HR, engineering, logistics/shipping, branding/advertising.
Fame Placement specializes in executive jobs for various industries.
Gummy Bear specializes in tech job recruitment.
KTI Consultants focuses on senior to executive level recruitment for Chief Financial Officers/GMs of Finance, Finance Directors, Financial and Business Controllers, Finance Managers, Cost Accountants, and Internal and External Auditor jobs.
Manpower Thailand lets you apply for jobs. Then a recruitment specialist contacts you. When you send an initial email, indicate your desired job and other data. Jobs include jobs in banking and finance, office service, IT, engineering, and technical areas for permanent, temporary and contract jobs.
Monroe Consulting is an international executive search (headhunting) company specializing in senior permanent jobs in the consumer goods, health, industrial, pro and technology industries.
Opus Asia deals with hospitality pros like Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH) staff, area and general managers, executive committee and department heads, and culinary specialists.
PRTR offers a range of recruitment services, including database, executive, mass and research recruitment; and HR and payroll outsourcing through its group of companies that perform its specialized recruitment functions. You can often see job ads in the Bangkok Post by this firm. It’s one of the oldest and most well-known ones.
Robert Walters Thailand specializes in permanent and contract roles for accounting and finance, banking and financial series, HR, IT, sales and marketing, and supply chain and procurement jobs.
RSM Recruitment Thailand offers mid to senior level jobs in accounting and finance, IT, HR and admin, legal, sales and marketing, and general management.
Smart Search Recruitment offers senior level staffing services to multinational and small, local companies in the insurance and financial services, energy and infrastructure, medical and life sciences, and manufacturing and consumer goods.
TrueTeaching specializes in connecting international schools with educators. Worth considering if you hold a degree that qualifies you to teach in your home country.
If you’ve had good experiences with recruiters in Thailand (on or off this list), send us a message.
I’ve been working in the digital marketing industry since moving to Bangkok in 2014. The circumstances around my employment are tricky to measure against everyone else’s and/or what has worked for those in the same industry.
In this section you’ll find out about the most important part of working in Thailand:
- Minimum wages
- Payment inequality
- Salary ranges
Matters of compensation should be one of your main concerns when deciding to work in Thailand.
As an expat, one of the most important things to remember is that for foreign laborers, there are government-imposed fixed minimum wages.
These minimum wages vary by nationality. A German citizen must make at least 50,000 baht a month, whereas someone from Myanmar would receive half of that.
Your own salary level as an expat depends on your experience, industry and, for some jobs, your nationality.
I will use teaching jobs as a point of comparison for this one.
As a Filipino, if I were to work as an English teacher, I’d make less than someone from the UK or anyone from a native English-speaking country.
The rationale behind this seems easy enough to comprehend, although it might come off as unfair to a non-native speaker who is qualified to teach English and other primary and secondary education subjects.
This is not meant to discourage anyone from pursuing a teaching job in Thailand. Of course, there are special cases.
You may be a non-native English speaker. But if you have an expansive teaching background and have the teaching certifications, it’s possible that you could make more than your UK or US counterpart.
Since I have never been a teacher in Thailand, I couldn’t claim authority on the disparities between non-native English speakers’ and farangs’ salaries and/or their status as educators in Thai schools.
This blog post on Filipino English teachers in Thailand explains how and why this divide exists and might help set your expectations if you’re a non-native English speaker thinking about teaching in Thailand.
Whether an employer pays different nationality different wages for the same job depends on the employer.
I’m not aware of any government regulations against this. In practice, it depends on your employer’s policies and your individual negotiation.
How much money can you expect to earn in Thailand?
In practice, I’ve seen everything from a third of their salary back home to double that.
It depends on how rare and valuable your talents are here compared to back home. Playing the piano is an uncommon skill. So even music teachers can charge 600 baht or more an hour.
Another part is the confidence of your potential employer in how likely you’re to solve their problem. If they’re convinced you’re the person that will handle it, the value of the problem reflects your salary.
Experience and personal networks play a big role in this.
The Board of Investment publishes salary data for Thai nationals based on data given by promoted companies. It’ll give you an idea on what Thai nationals get paid in similar careers.
In non-technical jobs, Westerners can expect higher salaries, whereas in tech careers salaries are often similar.
Even if you’re working in Thailand you still need to file your home-country taxes every year. And if you make over a certain amount of money in Thailand, you’ll need to pay taxes on that income too—or risk losing your passport.
The amount of taxes you’ll pay depends on what country you lived in, your income in Thailand, your income outside of Thailand, and much more.
And once you start working in Thailand, you’ll have to pay taxes on that too.
Personal income tax rates will vary from 5% to 35% of your yearly salary. But you’re not responsible for paying those taxes. The company you work for will deduct them from your paycheck every month.
For more info check out our taxes in Thailand section.
Now, On to You
If you’re struggling to find work in Thailand, or just thinking about what life would be like working in Thailand, then check out our book on Amazon, Working in Thailand: Ditch the Desk, Board the Flight, Land the Job.
In the book, you’ll find out how 19 people just like you landed jobs as TV commentators, models, researchers, and more. The tricks in this book will increase your chances of getting that dream job in Thailand.