Working in Bangkok

For expats who have secured a job beforehand, working in Bangkok can lead to a life of luxury.

On the other hand, expats who arrive in the Thai capital looking for work often have a challenging job search ahead of them that can lead to being underpaid.

Job market in Bangkok

Despite being the epicentre of sporadic political unrest, Bangkok has a relatively 

stable economy that relies heavily on foreign investment. After the civilian government was removed in 2014, it didn’t take long for modest signs of recovery to return to the city’s economy. 

While investors remain cautious, if the country’s military leaders stick to their roadmap towards democracy, it seems that the city’s economy is likely to go from strength to strength.

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 all major banks in Thailand as well as multinational companies. The largest local business is PTT, the state’s oil and gas company. 

Owing to high levels of inequality expats can expect to live very differently to the majority of locals. Expats arriving in Bangkok after securing a job from overseas usually make more money than those who look for a job while already in the country. These expats, in turn, sometimes make 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 should be able to 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.

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 portals for expats to find a job in Bangkok is through online resources, preferably before they arrive in the country. English-language Thai newspapers are another valuable source of information for finding work.

Often relocation packages 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 presses their palms together and makes a slight bow, is quickly being replaced by the standard Western handshake. 

This is at least partially because Thai businesses realise the importance of being able to communicate globally.

As with the rest of the country, businesses and companies in Bangkok are usually open from Monday to Friday, with a half day on Saturdays. Opening times differ between businesses, however; a bank branch may be open from 8.30am to 4pm while some shopping malls are open until 10pm.