Average Monthly Wage in Thailand

Cannons in front of the Ministry of Defence building

Ever wondered how much people get paid in Thailand? Here is an idea. At the moment, $1 is about 40 baht.

Agriculture, hunting and forestry (3,019 baht)
Fishing (2,968 baht)
Mining and quarrying (7,646 baht)
Manufacturing (6,420 baht)
Electricity, gas and water supply (17,841 baht)
Construction (4,706 baht)
Wholesale and retail trade, repair business (6,760 baht)
Hotels and restaurant (5,680 baht)
Transport, storage and communication (11,752 baht)
Financial intermediation (19,325 baht)
Real estate, renting and business activities (9,571 baht)
Public administration and defence (11,375 baht)
Education (14,883 baht)
Health and social work (10,804 baht)
Other community and social work (6,311 baht)
Private households with employed persons (4,068 baht)
Extra-territorial organisations and bodies (5,753 baht)
Unkown (12,341 baht)

Source: National Statistical Office, first quarter, 2005

Of course, there are a lot of people who are surviving on just 100-200 baht a day. The minimum wage is presently 175 baht per day. I know people who get less than that. I don’t know how they can do it. I have a lot of respect for people who can manage their life on so little. Nothing goes to waste. They work long hours just to put enough food on their table. More times than not, anything spare they can afford they give to a neighbour who is “worse” off than them.

It also makes you wonder how Thai people can afford to buy so many of the brand new cars that are on the road that cost 1 million baht and upwards. I think that is one of the first things that startled me when I first came to Thailand. All of the cars on the road seemed to be new. Where were all the old bangers that we have back home? Thailand, like many other countries in Asia, has a big difference between those that have and those that don’t. There are many people who are earning 60,000 baht per month and upwards.

To have a better idea of the difference, here are some “real” wages released by the Board of Investment. They are given as a guideline of what to expect for foreign companies starting up in Thailand.

Plant manager 73,396 baht (US$1,847)
Personnel/HRD director 71,222 baht (US$1,792)
Office manager 47,994 baht (US$1,208)
Executive Secretary 32,296 baht (US$813)
Engineering 26,051 baht (US$656)
Researcher (Thai) 24,722 baht (US$622)
Sales/marketing staff 23,785 baht (US$599)
Public relations staff 16,635 baht (US$419)
Office staff 15,222 baht (US$383)
Driver 8,528 baht (US$215)
Housekeeper 6,532 baht (US$164)

IT Manager 90,000-150,000 baht (US$2,265-3,774)
Webmaster 45,000-60,000 baht (US$1,132-1,510)
Web Designer 25,000-35,000 baht (US$629-881)
PC Programmer 22,000-35,000 baht (US$554-881)
System Analyst 40,000-45,000 baht (US$1,006-1,132)
Network Administrator 45,000-55,000 baht (US$1,132-1,384)
LAN Manager 60,000-80,000 baht (US$1,510-2,013)

I will talk more about the cost of living in Thailand in a future blog.

More discussion at the Paknam Web Thailand Forums.

27 responses to “Average Monthly Wage in Thailand

  1. Talking about old car’s, Yes I’m a big Fan of old Holden car’s and every time I go to Thailand, I try to see if I can find an old Australain made Holden car in Thailand. Last time I visited Thailand, I found an old 1972 HQ holden Kingswood driving around Imperial World Samrong Samut Prakan and a 1990 model Holden Commodore in Pattaya, yes it is very hard to find an old Holden in Thailand.
    The New holden’s are now being sold under the american badged Chevrolet Lumina, which is the Australian made Holden Commodore in Australia.

  2. Again, a fascinating set of figures. Does anybody know what tour guides get paid?
    For those wishing more precision, today’s exchange rates in Thailand for the main western currencies are :
    $=39.13
    €=50.08
    £=73.13
    (from “The Nation”)

  3. What’s the source of these figures by the way Richard ?

    I’ve a lot of respect also for those working for such low wages, particulary the construction labourers who work really long hours in the boiling heat and often in unsafe conditions too.

    Education seems to be the key, those with limited education have little chance of getting a decent income, while someone hard-working and with a masters degree could likely land a job paying 22,000B+ (more if they learnt abroad). There was an article about this in the Nation a while back.

    It strikes me in some cases though that what is reported as the wage and the income people receive is not always the same. I’ve got a friend working at Central Chidlom for instance who takes home about 14,000B a month because of commissions and working overtime whereas the standard wage is only about 7000B or so, and know someone else working as a ‘pretty’ in a supermarket getting 9,000B on a similar basis. Similar with, say, the ‘dek serve’ in nightclubs who might only get about 3000B salary but because of tips can end up over 10,000B. That information comes from friends I know in Bangkok but doubtless it’s less in the provinces.

    As for the ‘new car paradox’ that you mention, could be corruption related? Although another factor I think is that a Thai gets a lot of face if they can say they ‘kap benz’ or ‘kap bm’ and so they’ll save up and/or put themselves into debt to get one even if they can’t really afford it. Consequently I’m not sure if having an expensive new car is really the indicator of serious wealth that it would be in the west. As an example, my old apartment a couple of years was pretty basic and only about 5500B a month and yet the car park was full of expensive looking new cars. I’m guessing many of the tenants preffered to spend their money on the car rather than on better accomodation.

  4. I’d like to know too the source of these figures Richard.

    Khun Don:

    Tour guides are often very nicely paid indeed cause of the ‘tips’ involved. The actual salary is pretty minimum but i had a Thai friend who got an average of 20,000+ on top of her salary (Farang tourist guide) so earning around 30,000

    Same goes for hotel/restaurants. (of course not so big) but still enough to take home near on 10,000 for a waiter/chambermaid. Then you got OT too.

    Civil Servants dont do bad at all these days cause theyve had handsome pay hikes over the past few years. The Civil Service starting pay is just 6,500 but after say 10 years of service they’ll be nearing 20,000 (often includes rank, accomodation and location bonuses). A teacher/basic civil servant etc.. on retiring should be earning a salary of around 30,000. Just last week the asst. director told me she was getting 38,000 all together.

    Then they got loadsa pvt classes on top of that. Sure, a lot of Thai teachers earn more than say, me.

    The same goes for the forces.

    A police/soldier will start on the same salary but again, will be hitting 20,000 after 10+ years. Years in the service just as important as rank. A commissioned officer on retirement with say the rank of colonol ought to be earning around 50,000+.
    As for say a non-comm officer say a sargeant about 25,000.

    Civil servants/govt officials/forces also secure a decent pension too.

    Very popular jobs in Thailand are say for private companies working closely with the government ie. Thai Airways and EGAT etc.. EGAT (Electricity/Thailand) as these kind of companies pay salaries equivalent (or even more) to completely pvt companies. But the employees can be just as lazy as a lot of govt officials/civil servants. One ex-student of mine, just 29, sorking at Egat was already knocking off 28,000 a month. Then i had a cute little friend working, 27 working check-in at Thai airways and she was also nearing 30,000.

    Often Thais do a lot better than they make out!!

    The top occupation these days for new graduates is: engineering. Having just graduated in the field, salary of just less than 20,000 is expected. After ten years at least twice that.

    Corruption is still rife among the civil service/govt workers and forces.

    It has been known that some police holding just the lowly rank of Captain are already owning a Benz

  5. Thank you for this information again. I think sometimes its god to recognise the gap between us (the rich farang ) and the people who serve us as a driver or servant or policemen. I take
    100 Euro per day in holiday.
    So, we shall never forget how less thai people will paid for exelent work.

    Michael

  6. The numbers seem to be right, from what I’ve seen. About the new cars, I think it has to do with prestige too, as so many other things in LoS. Financing is another possible way of showing off hi-so from a smaller budget.

    By the way, I don’t see anything extraordinary or respectable effort about how one could live on such rock-bottom salaries. It’s everyday reality for me, as it is for the majority of Thai people.

    It seems that many Farang don’t have a clue about the realities of such a lifestyle, so I’ll elaborate on it in an upcoming blog of mine. 🙂

  7. Thanks for that Steve/SiamJai,
    I was wondering how a married-with-kids tour guide that I know quite well was able to afford a brand new 4 seater Black Toyota Pick-up c/w all the chrome extras and “smoked” windows !!(Seriously – I was totally amazed when he drove up in this thing- and jokingly asked him if he had robbed a bank – as he had often told me how poor he was !)

  8. Nice to have an idea about thai salaries.
    One remark:You can not compaire these salaries with our western salaries because Thailand is still a cheaper place to buy things than let’s say Europe.
    The value of a salary can only be measured by “what – and how much- can you buy with it” and the cost of living.
    A full meal thai food cost you…. 50 bath?(probally less) i wonder how much food i can get here for 50bath (1 euro)

  9. When I first came here I was earning 8,000 baht a month. Like my fellow Thai teachers I worked hard to earn extra money in my spare time. I took classes after school and on Saturday and Sunday too. Over the years I worked my way up the “food chain” to my present position as head of the Computer Department. Of course I got pay rises along the way which I think I deserved. In addition I worked long hours each night on my web sites which culminated in the launch of my Internet company. With these two jobs combined I probably don’t get as much as my Western counterparts. However, I am comfortable and I am happy. I don’t complain because there are many people who are supporting extended families with a lot less than what I get. I said I admired them because they always seem to keep smiling no matter what trouble they find themselves in. I also have a great deal of respect for these people who have very little for themselves but still find enough to help other people. We have a lot to learn if we just take the time to sit and listen.

    I have updated the original blog with a few more stats from different sources.

  10. Yes Richard, I also admire your dedication as a teacher, who has sacrificed a larger income in the UK to make a life style choice that gives you life style satisfaction. I also admire Thai people who can budget and bring up a family on a relatively small income as I my self was brought up in an unemployed family as a child, even thought the basic cost of living is much lower in Thailand. There is one comment I can make about the lower income Thai people and that is, they may not have money to make them happy, but from my experience, money can only assist happiness, not make you happy. So these Thai people gain there happiness from there family life style, where Richard may earn a larger income than most Thai’s but you are behind the 8th ball in your family stakes.

  11. The salaries are for the year?

  12. No, monthly.

  13. I was in Thailand with my wife and two teenage sons in the summer of 2004, and the last two days in country we had a taxi driver who picked us up in the morning and stayed with us all day. He spoke fairly good English [much better than my very limited Thai!] and would go with us when we stopped and translate. We agreed on 2000 baht per day, but I gave him a big tip as well when we were done, because he was really helpful.
    While we were traveling, I asked him how much per hour the young men working at the service stations were paid. He said “Oh, I don’t think they are paid by the hour. They are paid by the month. About 4000 baht per month. And this is for 6 days per week, 9-10 hours per day.”
    I expect that they also supplemented this with tips, but even so, it is not a lot.
    Then the second day we went with him, he asked if he could pick us up a little after 9:00, as he needed to go by his insurance agent and pay the insurance on his taxi. No problem, but after he picked us up, I asked him what insurance cost him. He said that it was about 5000 baht [$125] for six months insurance on a taxi in Bangkok. I don’t know what his insurance covered, but that’s a lot less than I pay on a private vehicle here in the USA.

  14. How much would a detective working in Thailand receive do you think ?

  15. Scientists (masters / PhD ) in Thailand are now earning a lot than before:

    Average in Baht:

    Private : 30000 / 50000

    Govt : 25000 / 40000

    If you are a full professor at a university you may earn up to 60,000 baht near retiring. At some private universities, you can earn up 100,000 baht already at age 50.

    Football players in the biggest league have average income of at least 20,000. Some stars (Thai) earn 80,000.

    Muay Thai boxers also get well paid even after paying their master and other officials, average at least 15,000 a month.

    As a Thai I can tell you that in the private sector, if you are employed you earn quite well. I would say the overall average is around 15,000 while the government would be 12,000.

    PLease count out some professionals like TV stars, doctors, dentists cuz they can earn like hell..some do earn more than 1,000,000 baht a month..etc etc. But if you are farmers then you earn 1000 times less per month!!! crazy!

    The official GDP of THailand is never true, it is less than reality. A lot of Thai people do not pay correct sum of tax as it is much less controlled in Thailand.

  16. This is my opinion.

    I’m living in Bkk. Of course, all of you are aware how bad the traffic is. Many of my friends have to spend appx 2 hours everyday travelling between their place and the office. The car somehow has become a ver important coz we couldn’t rely on our public transportation (it’s suck!). Without private car, they might take up to 4+ hours a day.

    The problem is various. We could not move our home place since it might be our culture that the apartment would be only a temporary accomodation (even it’s changed a lots lately), the city plan is not good, etc.

    Back to the care, so many people are willing to put a big effort to a car so that they could save 1-2 hours everyday. Then it comes to a situation about the prestige. Since a normal one could get a car, so his boss should have a ‘better’ car. Someone does care even someone doesn’t. It’s social. In europe, people might need to collect only half a year to buy a car while Thai people have to pay it back to 4-6 years. The importancy is different by the way.

    Abt the imcome, the work environment is different. In Thailand, many people could gain more money not only from ‘tips’ and ‘commission’. The corruption concerns not only servants but also private company employee. Many opportunities outside the defined rules (sometimes ourside defined law) allow them to obtain huge money.

    A lots of people I know could gain more than 80,000 a month eventhrough they are just in a middle level.

    The education is very important but it seems to never have a good support. Without it, people are different and lack of oppotunity of many things. People take advantage of that without have a proper organisation taking care. So in Thailand, rich people become more richer, poor be wrost. Clever cheats dumber. It sounds violent but it’s just true. I hereby would like to thank you Richard for his greatful contribution in education.

    Thai people always respect and be kind with western people. They always smile. It’s our culture. But in fact, they do not smile all day like while they’re staying with you. When their childern ask their study expenses, they they consider about their hard future, when they talk with their spouse abt home loan and living cost, etc they will have another side of their life that they have to endure and live with it.

  17. Taking an advantage is not only between different educated people but also between countries.

    I’m very glad that majority of western people I ever worked with is very nice and helpful. But the internaltional agreement is …….

    Btw, I understand and don’t blame anyone. I just hope the way we’re going would help our world to be better not opposite.

    For your information regarding my attitude, I’m earning appx 70k a month with 29 years old without commissioning and corruption.

    PS. I’m sorry for several grammatical and spelling errors.

  18. Sorry for being a bit off topic, but i need a couple of income related infos.

    I’ve recently spent a few weeks in Thailand, so I’ve a gross idea of the living costs there, but now I’m applying for a Thailand based position in the IT field, at a multinational firm.

    I’m an engineer ( Master degree) with a solid working experience, but speak no thai.
    Put it simply, I’m figuring how much I can expect as monthly wage, as this is one of the requested infos in most of the application forms. Figuring it out assuming my actual European situation proved rather impractical.

    Do wages change by the city one is
    living in? As a tourist, I’ve experienced quite different living costs between bangkok krabi and phuket, but I wonder if those differences still exist in non tourist life.

    Moreover, I’m figuring what the income taxation would be in Thailand as a foreigner worker.

    Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed at reading all those references to so-called “opportunities outside rules”. I eventually got used to the “mandatory” tip way in the common life, but it seems raw corruption is more a rule than an exception in the business life. Am I guessing wrong??

    thank you in advance for any hint.

  19. I think if you ask this question on our forums at http://www.ThailandQA.com you will get a better and more fuller answer.

  20. Ovidiu (aka Ovisan)

    Hello, my name is Ovidiu (quite unusual name..of Latin origin), I am from Romania (EU member now) and I may have the chance to go and work as a teacher in Bangkok. ANY kind of advice would be great and extremely useful. My email is: ovisan@inbox.com; my yahoo msg id id: evrika
    Please fell free to contact me and tell me from your experience or give me any kind of information.
    Thank you very much.

    P.S. I have read what is written above.

  21. Having spent 3 years working in Thailand I have a pretty good idea of what wages and salaries are there. The numbers quoted are very accurate. One of the western ideas picked up by the Thais is nearly everone there is part of a multiple income family. Most people working in Bangkok have their children living with their grandparents back home in cities far from Bangkok. I can tell you that it is very difficult to for a foreigner to live on Thai wages because prices are jacked up the minute they see a farong.

  22. Is this why many people rent houses in Thailand ?

  23. houses for sale Golders Green

    How a Thai person can ever afford to buy a house there… they earning to little

  24. Wow, this is great information on wages and cost of living in Thailand. I am hoping to move to Koh Samui and and also open a company. I will need computer employees such as SEM’s, SEO’s, Viral Marketers and one Webmaster. I have a fair idea of what my monthly labor cost will be. A bit higher than I thought but still more than worth it. I think Thailand is a beautiful place was fantastic people.

  25. Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it¡¯s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

  26. what would the average wage for a builder with a masters 4 certification be per month as i have travelled to thailand meny times and i am thinking of relocating there.

  27. thai people have always seen westerners as quite the suckers and by these posts I must agree.

    wages are low because there are hundreds in line to do the job if another doesn’t. also cost of living is dirt cheap.

    to all the farangs here, minus 75% from any thai quote you receive for service and work on that, thais know that even with the mark up you guys think it’s cheap…like the guy in a earlier post was paying 2000baht/day for a driver! that driver was laughing to the bank, the normal cost is about 700/baht/day for a all day driver.

    the wages in the service industry are low because of all the ridiculous farang tips, thais tip 20baht period….i see farangs throwing arounf 100 baht to every person before they leave the airport…guess what? 12 hrs at the airport I’ve made 24000 baht/day on top of my salary from 2 clueless farangs an hour just off the plane and on and on it goes. its not uncommon to see some farangs dolling out the 500baht notes either.

    farangs have no concept and are generally atm’s to thai people.

    so as you can see while actual wages may be low the farangi supplement is quite suffcient balance for those in tourism and service fields.

    the labourers and those on the streets is where wages are lacking.