Multi-national companies have discovered the Lao market. Increasing presence from multi-nationals, especially in the mining and consumer goods sector, are impacting the labor market profoundly.
These new players often require English-speaking staff, which are commanding a premium in the current environment. Schools teaching English are struggling to keep up with demand, and regulations prevent schools from hiring non-certified foreigners to assist.
In addition, Lao has bilateral agreements with Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, allowing some of the best and brightest to seek employment in those markets as well. With unemployment around 1.3% and forecasted to rise slightly to 1.5%, there is essentially full employment in the country.
Recent labor market data from the Birches Group compensation and benefits survey effective April, 2015, reflect these conditions:
Labor market movement exceeds inflation by a wide margin, and in particular, the market rates for support staff have been increasing at a faster rate than professional staff. There is still a wide gap – over 75% — between the highest level support staff roles and the lowest level professional jobs.
For more information about Birches Group surveys in Lao or elsewhere, please contact us.