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Thai industries will be short of some 300,000 workers in manufacturing positions within the next five years, according to a survey of businesses by the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE).
According to OIE director Udom Wongviwatchai, industries expected to experience the most severe shortages are the metal products industry, the garments industry, and the food and drinks industry.
Although the industrial sector is short of workers, unemployment in general has been increasing because of students preferring to study at the bachelor’s degree level instead of undertaking diploma courses at vocational institutes.
As the highest demand of the industrial sector is for vocational graduates, they are experiencing the lowest unemployment rate, whereas unemployment among new university graduates has been increasing markedly. The services sector has also been luring workers away from the industrial sector by its higher pay.
Long-term solutions include improvement of workers’ efficiency and increased use of machines and automated systems within the industrial sector, said Mr. Udom. He added that the industrial sector has been making investments in machinery and new technologies as it copes with competition, cost-cutting and manufacturing of higher-value products.
The results from these changes to the manufacturing structure are expected to be concretely seen over the next three years.