This March will be my third year living in Thailand. I love it and consider it my home now. I am lucky to have found work within a university in the international relations department that not only allows me to work freelance, but also very easy to take time off for other projects. As such I am a practicing artist and do artist residencies at different museums around the world. The only downfall of this job is that the pay is not so hot! Subsequently I am constantly looking for other work.
Now let's get to the point. During my last artist residency in Beijing, out of curiosity I looked to see what positions I could find as a foreigner. Let's just say I was overwhelmed and shocked by the number and types of jobs!!! From editing, copywriting, publishing, transcription, curriculum development, designing, coaching, teaching, sales, marketing....so many types of jobs, so many options!
I was not planning on moving to Beijing for any reason, but just out of curiosity I spent a few days sending resumes and attending interviews. Ultimately I was offered many jobs in many different roles that I probably would have taken if they were in Thailand. It was a very pleasant to find so many opportunities after spending so much time online looking for jobs only to find the dreaded words: THAI NATIONALS ONLY. I am aware that there are plenty of teaching jobs in Thailand, but I am not a teacher, plain and simple. Interestingly there were plenty of jobs in the content creation, writing, editing, and managing of educational programs/materials materials in China. Where are these jobs in Thailand?
Obviously Beijing and Bangkok are very different places, but it is very interesting to me that as two globalised cities their job markets are drastically different for expats. It would seem that there would be similar opportunities in companies that are providing the same services, which is not really the case. Is there is a slight anti-foreigner sentiment for some reason, an overabundant of Thais that are native level English speakers, or a lack of funding? I am curious to see what ajarn.com readers think about this.
Moving on...so was all this applying and interviewing just a waste of time? No not at all. It was vital networking which has now lead to remote freelance work that I am doing here in Thailand. Editing, designing, and writing work that is all well paid through Paypal. I have been set on finding work with the skills that I had, but could not find it here in Thailand and was able to find it in China. I would much rather work for a company here in Thailand, but have not been able to find the right opportunities.
In the end I am happy to have found remote freelance work which allows me to work from Thailand, but it makes me wonder what's up with Thailand and the job market here?
To readers who have been here longer than me: Is this something that has gotten better or worse over time and in their opinion will get better or worse as time goes on?