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Singapore's hotel industry looks to plug 2,000 job vacancies

There are more than 2,000 job vacancies in Singapore's hotel and accommodation services industry, of which 40% are for PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians). Currently, the industry provides employment for about 35,000 individuals.

The statistics were announced by Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, at the nation's first Hotel Day held at Suntec Convention Centre on 23 September 2016.

"One key challenge faced by the industry is the shortage of manpower. With more hotels opening in the coming years, the manpower situation will only get tighter," he said, adding the "the industry is transforming and reinventing itself to be more productive, innovative and manpower lean."

He provided examples of initiatives, such as:

  1. With mobile technology, more hotels in Singapore are introducing e-concierge for quick and easy check in and out. Staff then take on higher-level job functions such as guest service ambassadors to provide more personalised services to hotel guests.
  2. Deployment of a lean solutions, such as robot waiter and linen robot in guest room; mobile apps to place orders and make payments in restaurants; and smart bartender in concoction bar.

However, he noted such solution with help the sector become more manpower lean, but not manpower-less. "Human staff will still be needed to do more creative and higher value adding work. Hence I was relieved and happy to see cake crafting not by Robot, but by SHATEC trainees."

To support the transformation of the hotel industry, he announced two initiatives:

  1. Skills framework for hotels and accommodation services (HAS)
  2. Professional conversion programme (PCP) for professional executives.

Skills framework for HAS: This is the first sectoral skills framework to be launched among more than 20 sectors that are developing manpower sectoral plans.

Jointly developed by Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), this will provide a common reference for skills and competencies for employers to recognise training needs better, and develop vertical and horizontal career pathways for their employees.

Minister Lim gave the example of Peh Kok Hwa from Grand Park City Hall, who first joined the hotel industry in 2014 under the hotel operations specialist team programme. He was deployed to different departments such as housekeeping, food and beverage (F&B), and front office during peak hours.

"Today, Kok Hwa is an executive trainee at the hotel supporting F&B Operations. Guided by the skills framework, Kok Hwa can meet his aspiration to become a hotel restaurant manager in a better structured manner," he explained.

PCP for professional executives: This PCP is another first, aimed to help local PMETs to build horizontal careers in sales, project management and administrative roles across vertical industries.

For a start, it will focus on attracting and grooming sales executives or assistant sales managers – the two key roles where the Jobs Bank has showed over 2,000 job vacancies.

Through the programme, local and mid-career PMETs from other sectors will have a smoother transition into the hotel industry, through training and job opportunities.

"We will provide training subsidies and up to 70% wage support during the period of training. After the training (about three months), they can qualify for the career support scheme where we will provide wage support for salary ranges between $4,000 to $7,000," Minister Lim said.

As a start, 18 hotels have committed to join this new PCP.

Photo / 123RF

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