Government-led study seeks to transform hotel workforce

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Ministry of Manpower, and Workforce Singapore are spearheading a study on revolutionising the hotel industry using new business models and job roles.

The proposed six-month study will look at creating new jobs and the required skills, identifying roles that could be paused or abolished, and presenting upskilling strategies.

The sector has welcomed the plan, with the Covid-19 pandemic having devastated almost all tourism over the last two years.

“Through the study, (we) hope to dive deeper into such trends and map out relevant approaches that our hotels can adopt (to) to leverage such opportunities,” the Singapore Tourism Board has stated.

The study will consider the best ways to achieve three specific goals: increasing the proportion of locals in the sector by at least five percentage points; creating better-paying jobs for locals in the sector across all wage groups; and creating a more productive, future-ready workforce.

The board explained that currently, the services sector’s foreign worker dependency ratio ceiling is 35%, indicating that at least 65% of a hotel’s employees must be local.

Low wages is one of the factors for the discrepancy, with the median gross monthly salary of a hotel porter at SGD 1,800 (USD1,337) per month, SGD 2,485 (USD1,843) for a housekeeper, and SGD 3,618 (USD2,683) for a hotel manager.

Hotel staff numbers dove to 24,700 workers as of September 2021, compared with 36,300 at the same time in 2019.

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