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Sands, Galaxy to hire 22,000

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image Galaxy’s senior vice president for human resources is confident of finding 7,000 new employees for the Galaxy Macau resort, due to open in Cotai by March 2011 (photo by Manuel Cardoso)

The opening of the Galaxy Macau and the Sands China parcels 5 and 6 in Cotai will require 22,000 more workers, according to MSS Recruitment’s Macau Job Market 2010 overview, released last week. Both companies admitted that recruiting locally might not be enough.
Sands China senior vice president of human resources, António Ramirez, said in the survey that the new properties on parcels 5 and 6 would create 15,000 jobs. “As we ramp up our operation effort, the estimated number of positions available at its peak will be approximately 15,000,” a Sands China spokesperson confirmed to Macau Daily Times.
António Ramirez admitted that recruiting locally might not be enough when the resort opens its doors in the third quarter of 2011. “Even though these projects offer more job openings to the local population, it does not necessarily mean that everyone will be suitable,” the executive stressed.
On one hand, “the positions may not be considered desirable by local candidates,” and on the other, “the local workforce may not have the required skills and knowledge,” he said. “We need a lot of front-line people,” Ramirez emphasised. “Non-residents will play a crucial role in transferring their expertise and knowledge to local talents,” the Sands China vice president acknowledged.
The hiring process has begun and “there will be a mixture of positions available at different stages, from now till opening,” the company spokesperson said. The 15,000 jobs will be in conventions and exhibitions, retail, transportation, hotel operations, entertainment, security, facilities and gaming.

‘Encourage locals’

Galaxy’s senior vice president for human resources and administration, Trevor Martin, told MSS Recruitment he is confident that his company will be able to find 7,000 new employees for the Galaxy Macau resort, due to open in Cotai by March 2011, in “the most dynamic labour market” he’s ever seen.
Trevor Martin assured the vast majority of the Galaxy Macau personnel would be locals, found through local initiatives and educational sources. “We have a relationship with all the training institutions in town,” he pointed out. A company spokesperson clarified to MDT: “We will strongly encourage local candidates.” However, “ultimately the number of locals and approved foreign talent will be determined by how many suitable candidates we can attract,” she admitted.
The hiring process for these staff, who will join the 5,000 existing Galaxy workers, has already begun. “We are now focusing on senior management and management positions, then we will move to recruit supervisors and other positions,” the spokesperson said. The recruitment for the integrated resort will include gaming, hotel, food and beverage, human resources, information technology, marketing, entertainment, engineering, financing, retail and leisure sectors, she added.

‘Pretty tight’ market

The opening of two more resorts in Cotai means “more job opportunities” for local workers, the MSS Recruitment managing director, Jiji Tu, told MDT. However, she stressed that Macau already has a “pretty tight” job market, with only 9,600 unemployed. The main question is, she said, “do these people have the right skills to match the job openings?”
Asked if the increased demand would lead to more instability for companies, with qualified and experienced workers moving to the new resorts, Tu said the turnover would be less than in the past. “After the financial tsunami, I think local residents are less attracted to an immediate salary increase and more interested in long-term career growth,” she explained.
The Government Human Resources Office did not confirm if Sands or Galaxy had already presented a request for non-resident workers for the new resorts. In a Chinese-language reply to MDT, the bureau said, “Non-local employees will only be considered as a temporary supplement to the local labour force when there are no suitable or sufficient human resources in Macau.”
“The prerequisite of labour importation is that local workers can be ensured priority in employment and their rights and interests will not be harmed,” Human Resources Office said. “We believe that with this regulation [to authorise the hiring of non-resident workers] and the imported labour law, local workers’ employment, rights and interests can be safeguarded further,” it added.


SME worry over labour shortage

With this new wave of hiring, “a large number of employees will transfer from SME [Small and Medium Enterprises] to casino operators,” worsening this sector’s human resource shortage.
According to the Macau Small and Medium Enterprises Association, most of the 9,600 unemployed have “low education and skills, and some are out of work construction workers.” As such, they “don’t fit the needs of the casino operators” and “will not benefit” from the 22,000 job vacancies, a reply to MDT said.
When it comes to local human resources, casinos are “the main competitors” of SME, the association said. But it’s an uphill battle, because SME cannot compete with the wages being paid at casinos and “the training and promotion opportunities are also fewer,” the statement explained.
“Because the local workers are pursuing high salaries and good jobs, the turnover rate is high. So it is very difficult for SME to re-hire other local workers,” the association explained. Yet, the Human Resources Office only grants non-resident workers quotas if SME already have a certain number of local staff. Consequently, the companies end up losing part or all of its imported labour quotas, it said.
Furthermore, the new law “makes the cost of hiring non-resident workers higher and puts more pressure on the SME human resource,” the association warned.

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