Women workers

Women in STEM workforce readiness and development programme in Thailand

The programme, funded by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, seeks to provide women with critical soft and technical STEM-related skills, employability and leadership training coupled with targeted mentorship to help women gain quality employment and advancement opportunities in STEM-related jobs.

Programme background

Over the next two decades, technological advances including automation and robotics, will significantly change jobs and enterprises in Thailand. The ILO estimates that 44% of employment (over 17 million jobs) face a risk of automation in Thailand. Female are employed predominantly in jobs requiring low STEM skills, which are clearly at risk of automation. Women are 50% more likely than men to losing their job as a consequence of automation.

To address these issues, and considering the national economic and social development priorities, the ILO identified the electrical and electronics industry as high-growth in Thailand, presenting significant projected STEM-related skills gaps and opportunities for growth for women over the next decades. Female employment in the industry is currently concentrated in low-skilled occupations -85% of total female labour are relatively unskilled-. To change this, the ILO program aims to improve women acquisition and adoption of critical soft and technical STEM-related skills for the industry and, in this way, contribute to reduce the skills mismatches that are affecting workers’ productivity and enterprises’ competitiveness in this rapidly changing context.

Productivity is a key source of improved living standards for women and also a major contributor to economic growth. Therefore, to improve productivity and prevent women from losing their jobs as a consequence of automation, the ILO program will seek to strengthen linkages between private sector firms, social partner institutions and vocational training centres to ensure greater opportunity through higher entry, retention and advancement of women workers in STEM-related positions.


Women in STEM-related industries face a variety of challenges that reduce entry, retention and career advancement in these industries. Therefore, the ILO programme seeks to:
  • successfully transition underprivileged female vocational school graduates into STEM-related employment with sustainable career and livelihood prospects;
  • successfully transition women in low-skilled jobs to quality STEM-related employment with sustainable career and livelihood prospects; and
  • successfully transition mid-skilled women in STEM fields into leadership and management positions to ensure women not only enter, but also stay and get promoted in STEM fields.

Target beneficiaries 

The Women in STEM Programme aims to empower, connect and support career development of the following groups of women:
  • underprivileged female secondary or post-secondary TVET graduates;
  • under-employed women working in entry level STEM-related jobs; and
  • mid-level skilled women working in STEM fields.

Main activities

Skills gap identification

Consultation with sectoral business associations and key private sector firms to identify and prioritize industry specific skills and occupational needs and develop an action plan for skills development in the electrical and electronics industry. The design of a training plan and subsequent curricula seeks to be demand-oriented and include industry-specific STEM-related skills development and employability plans for women.

Skills upgrading 

Upskilling and broadening critical soft and technical STEM-related skills, targeting three categories of women, which each category being offered a different type of training:
(a) pre-employment technical and employability skills for TVET graduates to facilitate their entry into full-time jobs;
(b) skills upgrading for those who are already in employment but in low-skilled jobs with limited mobility to expand their career prospects; and
(c) high-end technical skills, or leadership and managerial training for those who are already in supervisory or mid-skilled positions.

Job placement

Maximize job placement through continuous collaboration with private sector firms throughout programme implementation.

In-company developing and mentoring

The in-company development and mentoring seeks to strengthen retention and advancement of women workers through peer learning networks to boost critical soft skills. Participating firms will benefit from an innovative learning approach designed by the ILO to deliver soft skills training, leveraging peer learning networks to support development, growth, and enhancement of enterprises. The In-Business training methodology offers a suite of training modules that apply activity-based, participant driven learning designed to empower female employees and connect them with role models and mentors. Topics for soft skills modules include: Vision setting, Creative thinking, Problem solving, Teamwork, Negotiation and persuasion, Interpersonal communication, Public speaking, Critical thinking and reasoning, Time management and self-organization, Starting to manage, Leadership, Personal/oral expression, Working in a cross-cultural environment and Managing upwards.

For further information please contact:

Mr Jordi Prat Tuca
Technical Officer, Enterprise Development and Skills
International Labour Organization
Decent Work Technical Support Team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific
United Nations Building, 10th Floor
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel.: +66 2288 2304
Email: prattuca@ilo.org