Richard McCully

Men and women's opportunities in Thailand

Are things equal for men and women in the Thailand TEFL profession?

Men and women often have contrasting experiences in the workplace mainly in terms of salary and promotion opportunities. I was interested to see if the same was true in Thailand and if not, then what factors affect your job and salary prospects.

I spoke to some of my female colleagues and those who I trained with on my CELTA to gain their opinions and compare them with my own during my time in Thailand.

Job opportunities

When applying for jobs there does not seem to be much discrimination in the application process in terms of gender. The only exception to this is for kindergarten teachers where female teachers are normally requested. I did also see one kindergarten job where a "feminine gay male" would be considered too...

Throughout the different schools I have worked in there has been a mixture of male and female teachers. During the interview process I haven't heard of discrimination between the sexes.

Schools see it as a benefit for students to have experience learning from male and female teachers. Female teachers I spoke to said they had good experiences in the interviews they had had.

Promotion opportunities

I would say the overall opportunity for promotion within a teaching organization is quite limited due to the procedure of schools, especially government schools.

Many language schools and private schools have some form of Western ownership so the promotion path is clearly outlined and on paper everyone should have a chance at promotion.

In my company (private language school) female teachers have been promoted to senior managements levels. However, I would say the majority of managers are male. This could be due to there being more male teachers in Thailand than female teachers.


Of course different jobs have different salaries and some don't specify the exact salary until the position is offered but I feel there is a standard wage paid to all teachers male and female. Again the salary paid to teachers at my previous schools has always been the same regardless of gender.

Many of the kindergarten teaching jobs offered specifically to women pay over 50,000 Baht a month and one of my fellow CELTA trainees walked into a 65,000 Baht kindergarten job without any previous experience of teaching.

Does Gender Affect Your Job Prospects in Thailand?

Overall I would say that gender does not affect your job prospects and salary in Thailand. There are certain jobs targeted at women but overall there are plenty of options out there for everyone.

The salary between men and women seems to be equal in job adverts and when being offered for a job in an interview.

There are other factors which do affect the job chances and salaries for us to consider.

Other Factors

Age - It is true that many jobs put an age limit in their job adverts and even if they don't they will prefer a younger candidate.

In my opinion this is due to the belief that students want younger teachers in the classroom. Whilst this may be true for some I know others who prefer experience, especially older students. There is no law against age discrimination when advertising for a job so it is likely this process will continue in the future. There are opportunities for everyone though and even in Bangkok I know and have seen many people over 50 working as a teacher.

Nationality - There is of course a lot of difference between the opportunities and salaries offered to native and non-native teachers. Native speakers tend to get around double the salary of a non-native speaker. Certain jobs ask only for native speakers or only those from specific countries. If you want to apply for an American International School then maybe it is fair to have only American teachers.

Location - Where the job is located can affect your pay. Bangkok tends to have the highest wages whereas living in a rural area you can expect a lower wage. You should consider the cost of living as maybe a lower wage in a rural area will last longer than a higher wage in Bangkok.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my website - Life in a New Country

You might be interested in....

Pay rises and promotions - How to aim higher and enjoy a better quality of life as a teacher

How far does a 30K salary go in Bangkok? - Will you be living well - or simply surviving?

The cost of living guide - How much do foreign teachers in Thailand earn and what do they spend their money on?  

Richard is co-author of a great new book on planning a life in Thailand. 

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