Macau Business has had exclusive access to a wide ranging report into employment prospects in the city – and it makes for largely positive reading The Macau labour market is finally recovering after a substantial period in the dumps as a result of the global economic downturn. As the Cotai Strip buzzes with activity, new job opportunities are appearing for residents and non-residents alike. That is the main conclusion of the MSS Recruitment Limited report on the current employment climate. Macau Business was given a sneak pre-publication preview of the report before being published and it reveals that Macau’s employment market is expanding with employers offering jobs, and incentives. Cotai buzz The buzz on Cotai and a raft of private and public sector developments, including the light rail and the Macau-Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge, means the coming years will see abundant career opportunities, says the managing director of MSS Recruitment, Jiji Tu. “Companies are keen to employ locals who have passion and are willing to learn. They are also totally committed to in-house and external training, which enables locals to be promoted internally,” says Tu. However, companies are complaining about official restrictions on the importation of labour. Thousands needed “Economic recovery is visible and the number of visitors is going up as the construction on mega projects will resume,” says Shun Tak human resources director, Raymond Chan. “Macau Tower needs property management, human resources and accounting professionals,” says Chan. As Sands China gets moving on Cotai they are looking to fill 12,000 jobs, plus 15,000 in the convention and exhibition, retail, transportation, hotel, entertainment and gaming sectors. “We need a lot of front-line people”, the senior vice president of human resources, António Ramirez, told MSS. Local drive Trevor Martin, Galaxy’s senior vice president, says he needs 7,000 new staff for their 550,000 square-metre property, claiming most will be locals. Galaxy is looking for graduates in finance, accounting, project management, engineering, customer services, food and beverage and administration. It’s “definitely a more interesting year” ahead for MGM Grand Macau says company vice president, Wendy Yu, partly because of the opening of the landmark luxury shopping centre One Central. The main opportunities will be in the casino, but MGM will also be recruiting staff for related departments, such as security, food and beverage as well as other services. According to Hyatt International director of recruitment – Asia Pacific, Peter Wade, there are rising opportunities in the hospitality sector, with openings for room staff, front office clerks, room attendants and food and beverage staff. “Applications for roles at Grand Hyatt are always welcome”, he says in the report. There are also openings ahead at DFS Group Limited, a luxury retailer catering to the travelling public, since they are looking for local sales associates and management candidates to work in their two luxury stores at Four Seasons and City of Dreams. No importation All the operators claim they are looking mainly for local workers, but they will all have to import some staff as the supply of sufficiently skilled locals is nowhere near enough. Tu says even though the companies “are competing on their staff retention strategies [fringe benefits, better salaries]”, specialised foreign labour will continue to be employed due to the shortage of local specialists. “That is a positive thing, because it means staff will be able to learn,” she says. Henry Brockman, chairman of the British Business Association, says he understands the official position, but believes that the government should loosen restrictions on the import of workers, considering the training benefits for local professionals. As for Paul Lam, president of the executive committee of the Macau Human Resources Association and deputy general manager of the Macao Water Supply Company, “there are more vacancies in the service industry, especially in newly opened hotels and casinos”. However, Lam believes Macau faces certain challenges, particularly: “In filling vacancies in the local market, especially technical positions, such as engineers, technicians and skilled workers, and to retain younger staff,” he says. Room for optimism Nevertheless, he still finds reasons to be optimistic. “Recent graduates will join the labour market, and some mainland students have an interest in working in Macau after their graduation. We hope that this may relieve the stress on the current labour market,” he adds.