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New Resorts to Use Majority Local Labor: Unrealistic Says Macau Economist- MSS in Macau Daily Times




Galaxy’s claim that the vast majority of the 7,000 Galaxy Macau workers will be locals “is unrealistic,” economist Henry Lei has told Macau Daily Times (MDT).

The University of Macau professor also warned that the hiring of 22,000 people for the new Cotai resorts would increase the competition for workers, creating “a challenge to local SME [Small and Medium Enterprises].”

‘The local labour market may not be able to supply this number of workers, nor supplying this number at a reasonable wage’

According to MSS Recruitment’s Macau Job Market 2010 overview, released last week, the opening of the Galaxy Macau and the Sands China parcels 5 and 6 in Cotai will require 22,000 more workers. “I doubt that these operators would actually hire 22,000 people,” Lei said.

Either way, the program coordinator and assistant professor of Economics believes “the local labour market may not be able to supply this number of workers, nor supplying this number at a ‘reasonable’ wage.” After all, he recalled, the unemployment rate “has returned to the pre-financial crisis level” and is now at 2.9 percent.

Galaxy’s senior vice president for human resources and administration, Trevor Martin, told MSS Recruitment the vast majority of the Galaxy Macau personnel would be locals. However, Henry Lei stresses that “some” of the around 9,600 unemployed “do not have the skills to work in casinos.” “The operators may eventually need to hire imported workers to fill up the gap between labour demand and supply,” he said.

Hiring will affect imported ratio

“From the point of view of businessmen,” Lei stated, “they do prefer an easy, convenient and low cost source of external labour force.” In fact, he added, that is one reason why the gaming companies sometimes complain about the bureaucracy in applying for non-resident workers – “this is a kind of pressure by the casino operators on the Government.”

With 22,000 more job openings, the labour demand will spike, “increasing the extent of competition between gaming and non-gaming sector for workers,” the economist said. This new round of recruitment will be “a challenge to local SME,” he confirmed. The Macau Small and Medium Enterprises Association told MDT on Thursday that “a large number of employees will transfer from SME to casino operators,” worsening this sector’s human resource shortage.

Furthermore, Lei believes the hiring of 22,000 people will also “for sure affect the formation of the local/imported workers ratio.” An imported labour monitoring group was created to analyse the needs of Macau’s economic sectors and it is expected to set up a ratio between local and non-resident staff for the gaming industry. “I do think that an appropriate ratio should be flexible and specific for each sector, which should be subject to review and re-assessment from time to time,” the economist explained.

-Macau Daily Times, Vítor Quintã

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