A huge survey carried out by the Thai office of the giant worldwide temp and recruitment firm, Adecco, has revealed that young Thai minds are preparing for the new digital age that is challenging Thailand and the Thai workforce right now to either advance or fall behind. It found that Thai young people were interested in pursuing new occupations such as becoming online game players or entertainment stars. The old favorites were still there, such as soldiering and teaching. Becoming a doctor however, topped the ambitions for a new, more caring generation on the way up in Thailand.

Becoming a doctor kicks teaching down the list of the most sought after careers among children in Thailand, according to a survey by Adecco in the country. It comes at a time when Thai children are beginning to show signs of adapting to the new digital, online world which raises a challenge to Thailand’s education system not to fail them. The fifth most popular career option was becoming an online game player, suggesting that young Thai people at least, get the picture. It remains to be seen if Thailand’s leaders of education can keep pace.

A very large survey into the minds of young Thai people at school has shown more young Thai people want to become doctors over any other profession, beating out the favorites of the past such as teaching or joining the army. The survey also showed that young Thai people are very much aware of the rapidly changing world and workplace. 5th place in the league table was becoming an online gaming player. The survey has an important message for Thailand’s education leadership and highlights the need to engage with young people, many of whom, while at school today, will be engaged in jobs tomorrow that the world simply cannot envisage right now. They need new core skills such as independent thinking and creativity in order to be able to power the Thai economy of tomorrow which the Thai government envisages as being digitally led and coming with higher income levels. (Photo credit: Prachatai.com)

Following the survey, carried out by the Adecco Thailand on over 2600 respondents between the age of 7 and the age of 14, about their dream career, the results are in. Astonishingly, it showed that being a doctor tops the list. Most of the children said that they chose medicine not only because it offers them better pay, but also because it offers them great opportunities to provide help for others in need.

Being an online game caster came in fifth place

With teaching slipping to the second sought after career dream in the list, from the top spot in the previous year’s survey, the third most widespread career dream among kids is related to athletics and sports. This is followed by becoming a soldier in the fourth place.

It is also worthy of mention that e-sport careers, like online game casting, achieved fifth place in the survey, and the interest among children in YouTubing and programming has increased this year.

You Tube and pop idols are big with Thai youngsters

These findings are parallel to other surveys conducted by others who found that 94% of children like watching YouTube and more than 28% love playing computer games. Regarding their idols, their answers varied, some said that their idol is a Thai idol girl group. Fully a third settled for BNK48, an international sister group of Japan’s AKB 48, according to the Thai survey.

Coming next in order of popularity among kids are KayKai Slaider, a famous YouTuber, Zbing Z, a well known game caster, GOT7, a famous boy band from south Korea, and Krit-ngi, a prominent e sports player.

Key wish: most Thai children want their families to live happily and for a long time together

The findings of the survey were released in Thailand ahead of the National Children’s Day, which is celebrated nationwide this week. Adecco Thailand also reported that most children, the target audience of the survey, wished that their family could live happily for a long time, if they were given the chance to wish a 100% fulfilled dream this year. It goes to show that while the economy in Thailand is changing, core cultural principles are still steadfast.

Thai girl wants Disney Queen Elsa’s icy powers

There survey provided some heart tugging replies: when a girl was asked what magical power she wanted to possess, she answered that she hoped she could get Queen Elsa’s icy powers from Frozen so that Thailand could be Yoo Yen which means cold and peaceful. Another child, innocently, said that he hoped that the world would abolish school examinations.

Thai children want to see more funding for education

When the respondents were asked about education reforming ideas, they said that the government should develop the country’s education system based on a child centered approach and help develop Thai children based on their own unique interests and preferences. Additionally, the children hinted at the government’s obligation to increase funding for education and increasing their real chances of being in a position to grasp more opportunities in the future in education leading to prosperity.

Children also were quick to identify the short comings of Thailand’s education system: they suggested that the authorities have to equip their schools with more technological tools for the purpose of enhancing the education to encompass the new digital age. The respondents also hoped that technologies would be integrated into teaching and learning process in order to make it more fun to learn. They also expressed a keen interest in online e-sports, computers and a third language following Thai and English. The survey found that children wished that their government could offer those in need the opportunity access to education by providing more scholarships and sufficient funds for educational materials in more remote, countryside schools.

Huge revolution, challenge and opportunity for Thailand’s children or the worker of the future

Today, Thailand’s huge revolution in the workplace is assailing even Thai workers in once thought to be long term, secure jobs in white collar areas. The continued push towards a digital world, changing habits and work practices means that the future for Thailand’s young people will be almost unrecognisable from that of their parents. For Thailand, this may, in fact, be an opportunity. The new challenge presents a level playing field for nearly all countries worldwide to get their share of the digital economy. Thai people have a flair for business and innovation. However the new era will require creativity and an ability for independent thinking, something that Thailand’s traditional educational system has hitherto, not thought as well as western countries. The new digital future will also require discipline and team work, key Thai strengths. Thailand’s new 4.0 programme is already being implemented and today we are witnessing a rapid expansion in Thai start ups and emerging online platforms targeting Asian and worldwide markets

In the years ahead, experts suggest, 60% of the population will probably work in jobs that do not exist today. As a result, it is a must that parents and schools work cooperatively to develop children’s skills according to what they prefer what they are capable of doing.

It is a time for Thai children to dream about doing what they love in a world of new expectations

The same experts suggest it is of crucial importance for Thailand and indeed, a matter of necessity, to develop skills suitable for the new IT world in order to support technology. The goal must be to help boost the ability of Thailand’s children to learn and cope with the challenges in the long run. This is part of the Thai government’s flagship Thailand 4.0 programme, which aims to turn Thailand into a high income, value added economy in its next wave of  economic development. That would see Thai children prepared for a future of sought after career dreams and careers that, perhaps, do not even exist yet in the present world.

Tidarat Kanchanawat is the Regional Director of Adecco in Thailand and Vietnam. Adecco, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland is the world’s largest temp company, sourcing and supplying temporary and contract staff to companies all over the world. The company is a Fortune 500 giant. Tidarat is based in Bangkok and has been with the company since 2012. ‘The children’s career views are thought-provoking,’ she said. The vast majority of Thai children interviewed for the survey felt that the career that they would be content with, is the one that gives them the chance to do what they really love and are more suited to . Tidarat observed: ‘This year, we’ve seen that Thai children know a wide range of careers based on their own interests.’