- Download our Moving to Bangkok Guide (PDF)
Expats looking to move forward in their career may well find that working in Bangkok is a good option.
Expats arriving in Bangkok after securing a job usually make more money than those who look for a job while already in the country. These expats, in turn, often earn more than the locals themselves.
Despite this, Thailand is renowned for having unemployment rates in the low single digits, and if an expat has the right skills and qualifications, they can usually find a job. It is important to remember, however, that a Thai work permit is usually required for expats to stay and work in the country.
Job market in Bangkok
The economy in Bangkok is largely built on its retail, real estate, business, finance and automotive industries. It also hosts the Thailand Stock Exchange and houses the headquarters of most major banks in Thailand as well as a number of multinational companies.
Popular job opportunities in Bangkok often come in the form of teaching English, while highly skilled expats can usually be found working in the financial sector and logistics industry.
Finding a job in Bangkok
The best way for expats to find a job in Bangkok is through online resources, preferably before they arrive in the country. Online job portals and expat social media groups can be valuable sources of information for finding work.
Relocation packages usually include help with accommodation and, especially for highly skilled expats, may sometimes offer luxuries such as a car and driver.
Work culture in Bangkok
Business etiquette in Thailand will be familiar to most expats. The traditional wai greeting, where a person bows slightly with their palms pressed together, is quickly being replaced by the standard Western handshake. This is at least partially because many Thai businesses realise the importance of being able to communicate globally.
Appearance is important in the Thai workplace, so expats should always endeavour to dress neatly and smartly. Being soft-spoken, polite and helpful is key to making a good impression, while being confrontational or pointing out the flaws of others publicly will cause both parties to 'lose face'. Conversely, expats can 'save face' by avoiding saying or doing anything that may cause another person embarrassment or put them on the spot.
► For info on the necessary paperwork needed to take up a job in Thailand, see Work Permits for Thailand.
► Learn more about money matters with Banking, Money and Taxes in Thailand.
What do expats say about the work culture in Bangkok?
"In Thailand, work culture significantly varies from what you might be used to in Western countries like France. One of the primary differences is in communication styles. Thai culture is often about avoiding direct confrontation. As a result, you may find that your colleagues and superiors prefer more indirect forms of communication. It means you often have to read between the lines. This is quite different from the more direct communication style we are used to in France." Learn more from Matt, a French expat living in Bangkok.
"If you do want to work in Thailand, make sure you have the right visa. I cannot stress this enough. If you find a job before you arrive, you’re in a better position to have your employer help you get all the paperwork in order." Read more of Mike's expat interview about life in Thailand.
Are you an expat living in Bangkok?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bangkok. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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