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Strategies unveiled to help resolve Phuket’s hotel labour crisis

Strategies unveiled to help resolve Phuket’s hotel labour crisis

PHUKET: The Department of Employment will promote job vacancies in Phuket to poorer provinces in the Northeast as part of its strategy to resolve the crippling labour crisis in Phuket’s tourism industry.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 28 December 2022, 12:54PM

Hotels and other tourism businesses will also be encouraged to hire former inmates and elderly persons, and more steps will be taken to manage the importation of migrant labour “to do jobs that Thai people do not want to do”, Bunyawee Khaipan, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Employment, said yesterday (Dec 27).

Ms Bunyawee unveiled her strategies to help resolve Phuket’s hotel labour crisis at the ‘Phuket Job Fair 2022’, held at the Central Festival Phuket shopping mall.

The job fair saw 43 businesses with more than 2,000 vacancies on offer open to receive applications from potential employees.

According to the Phuket Provincial Employment Office, there are 1,423 places of employment in Phuket with 17,173 job positions waiting to be filled, said an official report of Ms Bunyawee’s visit.

The job fair was organised by the Phuket Employment Office  in collaboration with the Phuket Tourist Association, the Thai Hotel Association (Southern Region chapter) and the Patong Human Resource Management Club.

Present for the occasion were Phuket Vice Governor Danai Sunantarod, Pichit Singthongkham of the Phuket Recruitment Office and Rangsiman Kingkaew of the Phuket Tourist Association.

Of note, the job fair also saw the Phuket Employment Office offer career counselling services and registration services for those looking to work abroad.

Ms Bunyawee said Minister of Labour Suchart Chomklin was aware of the acute labour shortage in Phuket, especially in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and had assigned her to take action to help resolve the crisis.

“The problem of labour shortage in the Phuket area is the result of the tourism situation in Phuket continuing to recover after the country fully reopened. Currently, there are about 8,000 foreign tourists travelling through the airport each day, with the number of tourists expected to increase through the end of 2022 and into early 2023. In addition, the proportion of Thai tourists increased at 41.34% compared with 2019,” Ms Bunyawee said.

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The type of businesses with the highest number of vacancies are hotel and other accommodation businesses, in the positions of front desk staff, food and beverage service staff, housekeepers and spa masseuses, followed by tourism-related service business and wholesale and retail businesses, respectively, she added.

The measures were agreed on to help resolve the labour shortage in the short-term, Ms Bunyawee said.

The first is to promote job vacancies in Phuket to provinces in the Northeast, highlighting that Phuket now has a minimum wage of B354 a day, the equal highest in the country, she said.

“The Department of Employment will also work with educational institutions in the Northeast to offer students work placements in Phuket where they will gain valuable work skills and experience,” she added.

The third short-term measure will be the Department of Employment working with the Department of Skill Development Training to develop people with work skills matching those in short supply in Phuket, such as Thai massage and mechanical work. The people to be targetted to develop the much needed skills included vocational students and soldiers preparing to discharge from military service, Ms Bunyawee said.

“In the long term, we will use career guidance for students to help guide those looking for work to enter the labour market with the skills in high demand in Phuket,” Ms Bunyawee continued.

“In addition, we will coordinate with businesses to hire reformed inmates and the elderly to work, and manage the importation of migrant workers to replace vacancies that Thai workers do not want to do,” she said.

“Business operators will need to adjust their staffing policies, reduce their requirements and focus on those who are ready to learn and willing to develop themselves while working,” Ms Bunyawee said.

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Kurt | 30 December 2022 - 08:03:23

Many Thai people from other provinces are not fascinated any longer about working on Phuket. They feel not comfortable with the environment, the life here. I know of 2 Phuket hospital nurses who are leaving now Phuket. One goes back home to Trang, on back to Isan. They go to work there in their profession. Live quality life again with family.

maverick | 29 December 2022 - 22:05:46

Why do people live here expecting it to be like home 

maverick | 29 December 2022 - 22:04:18

Welcome to the developing world piece of cake compared with Africa and Latin America 

Capricornball | 29 December 2022 - 18:39:01

Yes Christy and Old Guy, I meant to write 300/day. With that said, even at $10/hour I think it would still be hard to find good workers. They just don't give a s#!^, and the way things work here, they all are well aware that without having connections with corrupt business people, there is little hope for any growth and potential for advancement. 

Old guy | 29 December 2022 - 13:25:44

@Capricornball. Thailand's minimum wage is ฿300 per day! About $9. And it's usually for a 10-12 hour day. 

Old guy | 29 December 2022 - 13:21:25

@JohnC. Even though tourism is such a big business, government won't educate with tourist languages. So you get unqualified people that can't make a living. Surprised? 

Old guy | 29 December 2022 - 13:15:13

How about doing something that actually works? Like hiring bi-lingual people and paying them a decent wage. 

christysweet | 29 December 2022 - 13:03:10

Min. wage is 300 thb  a day, not hour. I paid twice that to start at my horse biz and  what a nightmare as they required a lot of training and patience to care for horses, and then just never showed up again. One worker didn't show up 60 times in the year, he knew I had no choice but to keep him on. NEVER AGAIN

Capricornball | 29 December 2022 - 11:11:15

As long as the minimum wave is around $10/hr USD, it is no surprise that the bars and massage brothels of Phuket are overflowing with women opting to rent themselves out by the hour or night. I pretty much have heard nothing but nightmare stories of businesses trying to find and keep decent workers. None of them care  about doing a good job, and will leave at the drop of a hat. 

JohnC | 29 December 2022 - 08:47:58

Nothing new in trying to get staff from other provinces. Back in the early 90s many of the bigger resorts got most of their staff from off island because they could never rely on Phuket locals. Samui was the same. Island mentality and often wealthy parents through land prices skyrocketing meant that many of their children were spoilt lazy wastes of time to employ. I saw it time and time again..


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