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RLC Insights Into Recruitment Trends in Thailand

2019 will see some game-changers in the realm of recruitment. Despite strong global headwinds, Thailand’s economy has proven to be quite resilient and strong with high domestic demand, stemming from an upswing in both private consumption and private investment. The Asian Development Bank’s revised 2019 models predict that the Thai economy will see a 4.3 percent growth. 

Richard Jackson is the Executive director of RLC Recruitment, and Co-chair of the AMCHAM HR Committee. 

AI Disruption and the Evolution of Recruitment

The talk of technological disruption is everywhere The talk of technological disruption is everywhere but very few really dig deep into how disruptive tech and the likes of hacking affect the way in which recruiters operate. For recruitment agencies and professionals, all that this really means is using tech to essentially break, streamline, and subvert conventional wisdom – it is more than simply taking all the work online.

Currently, acquisition professionals tend to spend about a third of their time screening candidates using currently available databases and CRM software. The end goal for this relationship between recruitment and tech would be to reach a point where the bulk of the processing time could be significantly streamlined. However, this is still very much in its infancy, as we are still dealing with the first generation of such software. There are features in sites like LinkedIn that already lean towards such a function but LinkedIn’s market share in Thailand is significantly less than other countries in the region – i.e. Singapore.

For highly repetitive, low skilled jobs, expect to see the proliferation of chatbots and automated interactions during the hiring process. California-based customer interaction platform Alorica’s chatbots have already made their way into the Philippines and screened and estimated 100,000 candidates for their overall Asia operations. When we speak of disruptive technologies, we should look at how it can impact the highly repetitive work that recruitment agencies currently have.


Next-Generation Talent and the Evolving Workplace Dynamics

We’re witnessing a very interesting time in the Thai labor market. There is a changing demographic ratio of the current labor force, which has given rise to a more competitive and robust labor market, as well as the following:

  • Language capabilities of candidates. This remains a top requirement for recruiters and hiring companies alike. As the language of ASEAN, and the lingua franca of the business/ corporate community, English remains imperative for those seeking a career with any MNC. Candidates without such skills will continue to encounter barriers to career progression;
  • Changing workplace dynamics. In overall recruitment trends, we see a bit of a culture clash. The new generation of workers that are entering the workforce at the corporate level increasingly demonstrates an entirely different and evolving mindset from their predecessors. This new fleet of professionals has had more exposure to overseas education working environments and mindsets which have influenced their working style. Many MNCs have tried to act as a bridge between this clash of cultures, but the truth of the matter remains that this independent, more modern style of working is in stark contrast with the traditional hierarchical structure of many Thai workplaces;
  • The recruitment processes. How we recruit new talent is constantly changing. Everything from the mediums we advertise through to the length of the entire process is being called into question. While Facebook and online job boards have been lauded for bringing on-the-go recruitment to the masses – they too are becoming obsolete. It’s not enough to simply have a page with text, you need strong branding and a clear concise voice to attract quality talent;
  • Job descriptions (JD). According to a study conducted by the job-search firm theLadders, fourty-four percent of job-seekers claimed to spend only one to five minutes reading job descriptions before deciding whether to pursue them or not. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say then that the lengthy, convoluted job descriptions lose candidates because they fail to concisely summarize their expectations. In an age of increasingly agile talent, traditional JDs also can be seen as having a silo-effect for candidates who may be looking at cross functional or project-based work. I can safely say that when approaching assignments, a job description is usually representative of fifty percent of the role’s requirements at best! Aspects such as workplace culture, adaptability, and the potential for career growth are always major components of the hiring company – areas which are rarely covered in a job description.

Social Recruiting: The Need for Employer-Business Membership Organizations

While Thailand’s strict defamation laws are in place, companies like Glassdoor – a site that allows candidates to review their company – may yet be held at bay. Currently, roughly fifty percent of RLC Recruitment’s executive placements are fulfilled using a hybrid approach of technology, referral networks, and proactive approaches to potential candidates.

Thailand’s recruiting sphere remains one that often involves gate-keepers and word of mouth referrals.

However, in today’s digitally conscious, social, and research-driven workforce, it will become easier to find out about a company’s operations and standing in the local community. The legal changes seen in the way companies are able to communicate with their target demographic, such as GDPR, mean that sooner or later we will need to build strong communities that people will want to actively join. This will eventually mean an overhaul of the way recruitment companies operate leading to the use of more tech, fewer clients, but closer relationships.