Few takers for services jobs

According to the Today news report “Jobs available in services sector, but few takers” (Jun 18) – “Employment may have shrunk in the services sector with stricter foreign-labour quotas, but businesses in the industry are still looking to fill vacancies in operational and frontline positions.

The long hours and weekend shifts typical of the industry are driving staff away, and there is a constant need to hire to keep businesses going, said employers in the retail, food and hospitality sectors interviewed by TODAY.”

Low pay is the problem?

After reading the above, I had the edgy feeling as to whether the perennial issue of “low pay” is at play here, on top of the “long hours and weekend shifts”.

So, the selected the following parameters in the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) occupational wages tool:-

Service and sales workers

Accomodation & food services

Less than 200 employees

Age group: 50 – 59

Gender: females

Less than $1,000 take home pay?

The result is that the monthly basic median salary was only $1,230. The 25th percentile salary was $1,000.

After the maximum 20 per cent employee CPF contribution – the take home pay may be $984 and $800 respectively.

Local workers shrank, despite foreign workers curtailed?

As to “the labour report by the Ministry of Manpower released on Monday showed that the number of people employed in retail trade as well as accommodation and food services fell by 4,800 and 1,800, respectively, in the first quarter of the year.

Executive director of Singapore Retailers’ Association Anthony Gan said the fall “may in large part be attributable to the foreign-worker levy and quota, which have forced many to let go of foreign workers”. The services industry has to comply with lower dependency ratio ceilings (DRC) for existing foreign workers by next month” – don’t you find it rather strange that since foreign worker quotas have been tightened and  job vacancies are at a near record high of 63,700 – why is it that the number of local workers have shrunk?

Weak economy?

As to “sales have also been weak due to falling tourist arrivals. Coupled with hiring challenges, retailers are choosing to downsize or terminate unfavourable store leases, said Mr Gan.

Home-Fix DIY managing director Low Cheong Kee cited business challenges such as a surge in the number of shopping centres and the advent of e-commerce. He has closed a few outlets in the past two years because of their poor showing, while staff have resigned or have been redeployed” – perhaps the weak economy is the primary reason for the drop in local workers, rather than that Singaporeans do not want to work, despite the low pay.

Win battles lose war

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