If you find it increasingly difficult to find new staff,  as you seek to grow your business or simply replace some who left you, sorry to say but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Why is this fact not keeping all business executives up at night? Most have their heads buried in the sand and are seemingly unaware or ignoring the challenges that lie ahead.

There’s a talent crisis looming and it’s heading our way. Some may even say it’s right on top of us, and that we are already in the eye of the storm. Research on global talent shortages forecasts that in Asia Pacific alone, there will be a deficit of 47 million workers in just over 10 years from now.

The Thai Ministry of Labour reported five years ago that there was an acute labour shortage already. Other facts:

  • Thailand has a labour force of 39 million people of which one third is in the agricultural sector.
  • Industry and service represent 26 million people.
  • The labour force has been between 37 to 39 million for more than 10 years but will in the future drop by 20% to only 32 million.
  • Only six to seven million Thai people hold a higher and tertiary degree (Bachelor, Master, PhD).

Is education the answer?

Will education be able to improve the quality of those who enter the labour market? I don’t think so, not very likely in the short time at least. Don’t we all love to hate the educational sector in Thailand for continuing the less effective rote learning, a memorization technique so one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the subject the more one repeats it.

Most countries, Singapore and Finland are just two of many, are using concept-based learning that provides student with a real meaningful learning through mastering of key how and why concepts.

But should we be surprised when Thailand had no fewer than 20 different education ministers over the past 17 years? Compared to other Asian countries like China, India or Vietnam, Thailand is traditionally not a big sending country of international students. And finally, OECD and UNESCO have reported that investments in Thai education are not resulting in the expected outcomes.

You too must have read that Thailand is one of the world’s most quickly aging societies. In less than two years, Thailand will have changed from an ageing society to an aged society. And in another 15 years (2035) we will be the first country to be defined a hyper-aged society, because more than 20% of our population will be over 65 years old.

What can you do about it?

With the somber and grave reasoning I described above, you will not be able to keep sourcing people from outside your organization in the same manner and numbers that you have done in the past.

So think retention of your staff, think identifying the talent by using potential leadership inventory assessments, think developing talent from within the organization, and for those external hires you must choose your third party recruitment firm wisely and very carefully.


“There’s a talent crisis looming. Research on global talent shortages forecasts that in Asia Pacific alone, there will be a deficit of 47 million workers by 2030. This isn’t just an organisational issue, it could threaten the GDP of nations as key global markets and sectors flounder.

It should be keeping business leaders up at night, but it’s not! Most are seemingly unaware of the challenges that lie ahead.”

via Get your talent pipeline ready for the talent crunch –  Focus

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.
Get your staff pipeline ready for the war for talent