What will occur with ASEAN’s AEC & free flow of people? The Phuket Indicator


Next year, ASEAN AEC will come into being, and one aspect, is a more free flow of working people among ASEAN members. There has been much speculation, what that will mean. But there is no conclusive accepted consensus. Many say it will be case by case and industry by industry. However, perhaps Thailand’s global class tourism island, Phuket, can shed some light, on one case, tourism.

The following is from Phuket News (source)

Phuket suffering from acute labour shortag

While other parts of the world are suffering from unemployment, Phuket has the opposite problem – a shortage of labour.

Opening a job fair at Phuket Rajabhat University recently, Governor Maitri Inthusut said, “Economic growth has increased labour demand in Phuket. There are more than 4,000 jobs available, of 700 different types.”

He said that some 20 per cent of those jobs were expected to be filled by the end of the job fair, while employers in another 15 per cent of cases would have to wait to hear from successful applicants.

Most of the jobs are, predictably, in hotels and other tourism businesses, along with real estate, retail and wholsale businesses.

Gov Maitri said, “There are enough job positions for people who want to work in Phuket. Candidates who cannot apply for a job at the job fair can apply at the Phuket Provincial Employment Office.”

He said that the rate of unemployment among people registered as living in Phuket was just 1.39 per cent – and that included Phuket people who were working elsewhere in the country.

Most economists define “full employment” as meaning that two to three per cent of the working-age population do not have jobs.

The Governor noted, too, that the once-contentious B300 casual day wage – slammed as ruinous by many employers when it was proposed by the government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra – no longer seems to be an issue.

“The biggest labour shortage now is in construction and public utilities. There is no problem with the B300 labour rate in Phuket because [employers] are offering higher rates than that just to attract workers.”

Local employees can plainly demand good money, for now, at least. On the horizon, however, is the competition for jobs, particularly in the hospitality industry, that will come with the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) at the end of next year, when labour mobility will see people from the nine other Asean member-countries competing with Thais for jobs in Thailand.

To prepare future job seekers for this, another fair was held at Rajabhat University on February 13.

Apart from students the event attracted many teachers, special guests, and representatives from a variety of public institutes in Phuket.

The show included academic and cultural displays, displays of national dress of the 10 AEC countries, folk singing and question-and-answer sessions.

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