I first came to Thailand nearly 6 years ago. My first job after I got my CELTA started at 39,000 baht. I've subsequently held posts paying 35,000, 38,000, 42,500, 38,000 and 40,000 baht (in order of the post). Overall, my average has been nearly 39K.
I went home for six months and have now been back in Thailand for five months. As I look for my new job, I am astonished at how many jobs are paying around 30,000 only. I know the job posting says, "At least 30,000." But after I applied and got a response from the few, they informed me that the job starts at 30,000. And so often when I click a job posting to read more about it, that "at least" in the heading turns out to say "around 30,000," or "starts at 30-32,000," etc. I interviewed last week with one of these schools hoping it was a typo. The guy offered me a contract at 30,000. When I queried him about it, he actually said, "Yeah, but we give you accident coverage up to 20,000 baht, so if you get hurt, it will make a big difference in your pay." What? So I need to suffer an injury to add to my pay? And I'm not talking about just a few postings. It seems nearly all (estimate 85-90%) of the postings I read have 30K listed.
What in the blazes has happened to the salaries? Yes, 30K is a lot by Thai standards. But the level of education in this country is minimal and it is largely a traditional economy with low expectations, so the low-average wage is expected. But 40K is not a particularly high salary for someone with a proper degree, a CELTA, professional experience going back over 15 years, and over five years of teaching experience in Thailand. I didn't come to Thailand to save money for retirement. I didn't come expecting to live high on the hog. But I do expect a reasonable wage based on my education and experience.
I guess it's time to look at Japan, Korea, China, and other places to get some respect. Although I'm not 60, like our friend Kevin in the letter below, perhaps I'll be joining him as he widens his search for a job that will respect him and his abilities.