DATA & Statistics

Thailand’s Creative Occupations

Creative Labor Force Comparison, 2016 – 2017

During 2016 - 2017, Thailand’s overall labor force expanded by 0.46 percent, or 310,415 people. The creative workforce amounted to just 1 percent of total labor force. During this period, the number of people working in creative industries fell by 11 percent, or approximately 98,500 people. The largest drop, some 80 percent of overall decrease, occurred in the craft industry, while the second-largest, about 18 percent of the 98,500 total, took place in the design industry. The creative sector’s workforce shrinkage has two major causes. Work in the craft industry requires a degree of refinement that takes time to achieve, and this has led new generations of workers to turn their interests elsewhere even as mature workers begin to retire. Meanwhile, design industries, especially product design and fashion apparel, are suffering from an inability to compete on cost with other countries in the global marketplace and from the relocation of these industries to neighboring countries. In addition, the massive changes experienced by the advertising and publishing industries in the digital era have caused many firms to go out of business or freeze hiring, and as a consequence, a downward trend is forecasted for these professions.1


unit: person 2016 2017 change
creative occupations workforce 924,526 826,026 -98,500
1. Advertising 212,121 203,014 -9,107
2. Architecture 66,252 68,199 1,947
3. Craft 380,198 300,829 -79,369
4. Design 81,404 64,088 -17,316
5. Software 37,184 41,249 4,066
6. Film & Video 49,316 51,701 2,385
7. Publishing 17,832 13,761 -4,070
8. Museums, Galleries and Libraries 10,911 13,934 3,024
9. Music, Performing Arts and Visual Arts 69,309 69,250 -58


1. Economic Research and Training Center, Faculty of Economics Thammasat University (2017): Creative labor data compiled under the creative industry development planning project. Thailand Creative and Design Center
2. 2017 Labor Force Survey Data. National Statistic Office Source: Economic Research and Training Center, Faculty of Economics Thammasat University (2019). Report on economic output value of creative industries, classified by production activity; and employment data for the creative industry group: compiled under the project for the analysis of the creative economy sector’s economic value and employment number; and for design of methodology and data selection for assessment based on Creative Output Indicators. Creative Economy Agency (Public Organization)