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Thai employees priorities flexibility, Work-life Balance, and well-being in 2024

Robert Walters, a world-leading specialist professional recruitment consultancy, has released its 2024 Salary Survey, providing an overview of the global salaries and recruitment trends across the world including key insights into the hiring and salary trends of the Thailand market. The survey was conducted in September 23, 2023 with 570  respondents, comprising professionals and companies in Thailand to get insights into the evolving landscape of hiring, salary expectations, and talent retention for the upcoming year.

Key survey findings unveil a shift in employee priorities toward flexible working, work-life balance, cultural fit, and commitment to CSR and ED&I. Meanwhile, employers face challenges in talent retention, staff sourcing, and a growing trend of counteroffer tactics to keep valuable talent.

Talent Attraction and Retention Strategies

Punyanuch Sirisawadwattana, Country Manager of Robert Walters Thailand, shared that companies in Thailand are proactively enhancing talent attraction by integrating culture and employer branding into their recruitment process. 

Reflecting on the past year, she notes a rising trend among companies establishing partnerships with sustainability-focused platforms and giving priority to training programs. There is also a heightened emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) and a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). These initiatives will continue to persist into 2024 as companies actively seek to attract talent aligned with their values, mission, and dedication to social and environmental responsibility.

“Talents want to work in an organisation with values that match their own, and this forms part of their decision on whether they will resign from, stay, or move,” added Natiya Saul, Director of Sales & Marketing, HR, Supply Chain & Engineering, and Eastern Seaboard at Robert Walters Thailand.

The findings indicate that within the next 12 months, 75% of employees surveyed intend to shift to a new role, with 73% expressing optimism about job opportunities in their field. A key consideration for the new role include company values (44%). Other factors include a bonus scheme (89%), private health insurance (74%), flexible/remote working (59%), holiday entitlement (41%), and life/critical illness cover (30%).

Punyanuch noted that in 2024, companies will intensify efforts to retain skilled professionals by offering substantial counteroffers when possible. To attract and retain talent, employers should prioritise factors such as flexible work arrangements, mental health support, investment in learning and development, and a commitment to an ED&I workplace culture. 

This was evident in the survey which showed that 54% of employees will still consider a counteroffer from their employer after accepting a new job, citing factors such as increased salary (93%), promotion (57%), increased flexibility (40%), retention bonus (33%), and the opportunity to work remotely full-time (21%) that will make them stay on. Among the 34% respondents who said they would consider a counter-offer, 28% stayed on for less than 6 months, 17% stayed on for a year, while 14% stayed for 3-5 years.

The survey further revealed that 78% of employees surveyed express a preference for jobs that offer hybrid working, emphasises work-life balance (86%) well-being services (36%), diversity & inclusion initiatives (26%), climate change efforts (12%) and CSR practices (7%).

While 59% of employers surveyed are concerned about employee retention, they believe the impact on the company is limited. Nevertheless, they have put initiatives in place to support employee retention and these include  improved learning and development (71%), increased well-being initiatives (58%), improved employee benefits (57%), hybrid work policy (51%), and promotions outside of normal cycle (44%). 

Addressing Challenges, Empowering Skills

According to the survey, high salary expectations (73%), lack of technical qualifications (52%), insufficient industry experience (45%), intense competition such as counteroffers and buy-backs (38%), and a shortage of required soft skills (36%) are among the key challenges faced by companies when hiring.

Punyanuch also pointed out a rising demand for Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) roles, sales and marketing professionals, and technology-centric positions.

“The healthcare, retail and automotive sectors in particular have been calling out for help with their business development efforts. This demand is coupled with the need for experts in digital marketing, e-commerce and data analysis for customer insights – both trends we expect will continue looking ahead,” she explained.

In the upcoming year of 2024, employers surveyed foresee substantial skills shortages in the Technology, Sales, Accounting & Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain & Procurement sectors. To address these gaps, 92% of companies are proactively reskilling employees through internal programs, external training, and supporting upskilling with personal funding or training days.

Simultaneously, nearly half of the surveyed employees (50%) plan to boost their technical and soft skills in the next 12 months, ensuring they stay well-equipped to navigate market changes.

In the last 18 months, employers surveyed have started offering new benefits to keep up with employee expectations and these include flexible/remote working (35%), bonus scheme (22%), private healthcare insurance (21%), transportation allowance (17%) and dental cover (16%).

Employee Expectations and Salary Trends in 2024

In 2024, while 75% of employees expect salary boosts, with 41% envisioning a 6-10% raise and 46% anticipating a 6-10% bonus, employers lean toward a conservative 1-4% salary increase at all levels, expressing confidence in exceeding inflation averages. Notably, they are more generous with bonuses, planning an average 13% bonus across all job levels.

While both employers and employees surveyed agree on spending either 3 or 5 days at the office, the preference among employees leans towards a hybrid working model.

The journey into 2024 promises a dynamic employment landscape, where companies actively embrace change, prioritise diversity and inclusion, and invest in upskilling to navigate the evolving demands of the market.

Top industries which can expect pay raises in 2024 include Sales and marketing (81%), Legal (80%),Technical healthcare and tech & transformation (79%), Accounting and finance(79%), Engineering and manufacturing (79%), and Human Resources(79%). 

Top industries where professionals are seeking new job opportunities in 2024 include Supply Chain, Procurement, and logistics (81%), Engineering and manufacturing (81%), Sales and marketing (78%), Legal (74%), Accounting and finance (72%), Human Resources (64%).

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