Government 'must back corporate universities'
The government should support the establishment of universities by the private sector so that they can transfer practical business knowledge to students, which would help solve the lack of quality in the workforce, said Sompop Manarungsan, president of the Panyapiwat Institute of Management.
He said the impact of the recent increase in the minimum wage hike had created difficulties for industries, from the viewpoint of cost and shortage of labour.
He pointed out that after the minimum was raised to Bt300 a day nationwide, some major firms had experienced a labour shortage as it had encouraged workers move closer to their homes upcountry.
He added that some companies might pay more than Bt300 daily as the country is suffering a labour shortage. Of the 40 million working-age Thais, those 14 to 60 years old, only 0.7 per cent are unemployed - about 280,000 people. Of these, 220,000 are bachelors. In stark contrast, the United States has an unemployment rate of 8 per cent, while in Europe it is as high as 19 per cent.
Sompop said Thailand was also experiencing a lack of a skilled workers as the educational system failed to produce graduates fit for jobs. Therefore, they lack patience and responsibility and bonding with the organisations, prompting them to switch jobs frequently. The frequent job-switching is a waste of the investment companies put into human-resource development, which eventually affects the country's production capacity.
Sompop said the labour deficit was both in terms of quality and quantity. Many businesses had solved the problem by setting up their own university or college, the so-called corporate university, applying their management know-how and business knowledge as curricula for the students. This is aimed at grooming efficient workers ready to replace the existing labourers in the system who have less skill.
"The good point of a 'corporate university' is that all students will be able to get actual knowledge directly from the business. They will have a chance to participate in on-the-job training. They will have good responsibility and a strong relationship with the organisation, and are quite ready to work more efficiently and immediately when trained," he said.
Sompop said many corporate universities had been opened in Japan and South Korea. They had produced enough labour to mobilise the businesses and industries domestically. It is quite different from Thailand, where not many corporate universities have been set up. The government should provide some privileges to support corporate universities, such as tax incentives, to solve the labour shortage, he said.
"Panyapiwat has coordinated with many local universities, including Thammasat University, King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok, and Kasetsart University. Those universities offer strong academic knowledge, and that will be exchanged with Panyapiwat's business knowledge and management know-how to produce students who have all-around knowledge," he said.