Bridging The Digital Talent Gap – A Workforce Challenge For Thailand

Thailand Digital Talent Gap

Innovative and creative ways to attract and retain digital talent is a much discussed topic world-wide. The digital talent gap is in fact huge and is a prominent concern. For Thailand, the challenge goes way beyond the HR department and head hunters.

“Thailand needs to urgently build a digital workforce with IT skills to cope with the transformation of existing businesses and industries” — Bangkok Post 2017

According to a research by the Online Marketing Institute, this is how business leaders are evaluating their current digital talents which weakest channels being Analytics, Mobile Marketing, Email Marketing and Content Marketing:

source: MercuryOne (research coverage on the digital talent gap)

Thailand Ranked 8th On Asian Digital Transformation Index

A report from The Economist Intelligence Unit on the Asian Digital Transformation Index has shown Thailand ranked quite low out of the 11 countries included in the report.

Thailand Digital Talent Index

(Source: Connecting Capabilities: The Asian Digital Transformation Index, A report from The Economist Intelligence Unit)

Consequently, the index was weighted on 3 main pillar for which Thailand still showed weaknesses: digital infrastructure, human capital and industry connectivity.

Acute Shortage of Digital Talents: Analytics and User Experience

With the digital marketing hype going on in Thailand from various digital events held year round and the many Thai websites such as Marketingoops fast-appearing on the scene, it would appear as though the country has an abundant of digital natives.

However, the core of digital marketing comes from data analytics, and according to the report, the acute shortage in digital talent is seen in the more advanced and much needed fields such as data analytics and user experience.

On hiring, Mr. Le Louer, an entrepreneur who has co-founded three online companies in Thailand, shares that the shortage is a prominent problem and even big companies resort to poaching these talents from the tech startup scene, “The large firms just double their salaries; small companies can’t compete with them.”

Digital Strategy Roadblock

Besides workforce challenge, many respondents felt there was a lack of strategy and new ideas to help their company successfully pursue digital transformation. These strategies are digital in nature and in the end would be quite dependent on a company’s confidence in its digital knowledge and literacy, as well as whether or not they feel they lack strong digital natives to drive innovative ideas.

The report concludes that the lack of talent is a constraint for the development of businesses in Thailand. In light of the current challenge, what steps can companies take to ensure their workforce digital literacy is up to par in order to keep the company competitive and beyond?

Maintaining High Digital Knowledge In Your Company

When digital recruitment becomes a poaching game and digital salaries skyrocket, how can management and human resources ensure they maintain high digital knowledge in the company without disrupting a well-balanced workforce across all departments?

Creativity is the name of the game. And there are many more ways than having to resort to poaching and doubling pays.


For companies who are quite confident that their teams are able to self-study new concepts through research or trial and error, they can adopt a train-the-trainer learning environment. This may involve a weekly sit-down with relevant teams and representatives from departments for knowledge sharing. A person may be assigned to learn something new about digital marketing and share this with the team the following week as the trainer, and rotate roles week by week.


According to a research coverage by Deloitte Insights, one important way companies can strengthen their digital knowledge is by hiring consultants. Here we’re not really referring to digital agencies but consultants as individuals. Agency models are more frequently the pay-for-service model whereby the digital knowledge is in an external silo. The challenge is how to increase digital marketing understanding and know-how company-wide, as opposed to having specialist handle digital projects in silos.

Hiring consultants on the other hand means you would be transferring the knowledge to the teams and departments from a seasoned digital native.

deloitte digital talent research


Besides contractors and consultants, you might want to recruit digital leaders to drive the digital transformation for all departments, and in doing so, fast track how your company resolves the digital talent gap problem. The digital leader may act more like a coach and adviser and work closely with the consultant (extended team). The challenge here is usually the resistance to change by the majority of the workforce. And one of the key objectives for the leader is to act as a digital coach to propagate the knowledge as opposed to a boss.

And when you are ready to take on the digital transformation mammoth, one of the key drivers is to ensure that your management solidly communicate and provide the digital leader or leadership team with the authority to make the change happen.

Bridging The Digital Talent Gap

Now besides recruiting, developing existing teams and engaging digital consultants and leaders, in order to successfully bridge the talent gap, retention of digital natives needs to be strongly addressed.

It’s important to note that: If your HR department is very good at hiring digital natives but the company structure and working procedures fail to keep these recruits. You are loosing talents faster than you are hiring, and there is no way you can close the digital talent gap.

Retention of talent is an entirely different challenge and important for all departments and individuals of an organization. The key difference is how digital natives think; how to ensure HR understands how their mind work in order to successfully integrate them into the system. HR alone cannot do the job and requires support from the mangement of all deparments as it involve integration at scale, from day-to-day operations to long-term strategies, whether it’s how to integrate with the tech development deparment, accounting, sales or even among the marketing teams (Above The Line and Below The Line Marketing).

This is where seasoned digital consultants and contractors can help to both moderate as well as to implement new structures and template into an organization’s existing system. In other words, to work with the company as a partner to place the important foundations for driving company-wide digital transformation. When hiring, look for someone with strong general knowledge which would be immensely essential to growth hack digital transformation for your company.

In case you are facing organizational challenges to go digital, you’re not sure where to start, or the digital talent gap means you are looking for fluid (on-demand) extended teams, please feel free to connect and talk to a digital marketing enabler from our community. We’d be more than happy to learn more about your challenges and offer free evaluation and recommendations.