Developing Thailand needs 1.6 million workers

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Thailand’s current labor shortage will become more severe with two government mega projects needing at least 530,000 more workers, a senior Thai official said last week.

Pravit Khiengpol, Department of Employment director general, said the country will be short by 1.6 million persons in the labor force and foreign workers will have to be hired.

The planned Bt2 trillion in infrastructure development projects will need at least 450,000 workers and the Bt350 billion water management project another 80,000 laborers, he said.

The two major projects will require workers in five fields – management at 2 percent, engineering 5 percent, supervisors and skilled labor 20 percent, semi-skilled labor 36 percent and non-skilled labor 37 percent.

About 200,000-300,000 Thai workers are currently unemployed and the Labor Employment Department has set a target to provide at least 100,000 new graduates for the domestic labor market each year, he said.

He added that the Labor Department will import workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia to accommodate the private sector while additional workers will be hired from other countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.

The migrant workers will mostly work in the construction and fisheries industries.