IAG August 2014 - page 7

three months to May, well below the rate considered to represent
full employment, andmany of the remaining 6,400workers seeking
positions are either merely between jobs or are so lacking in skills
as to be virtually unemployable. That, coupledwith the ban on non-
locals working as dealers, has raised concerns of a severe labor
shortage ahead of the second wave of resort openings on the Cotai
Strip starting next year, with at least six new properties or major
expansions scheduled toopenbetween 2015 and 2017.
Macau’s six gaming operators are by far the city’s biggest
employers, with 83,300 resident and non-resident staff—or nearly
a quarter of the employed population—including 25,250 dealers,
government figures for the end of 2013 show. The vacancy rate in
gaming companies stood at 3.4% over the same period compared
with 10.2%, 6.2% and 11.7% in the other major segments of retail,
hotels and restaurants, respectively.
Although thedeep-pocketedcasinooperatorshavebeenbetter able
tofillvacancies thanemployers inothersectors,even theycouldstruggle
tomeet theirmanpowerneedsasCotai’sexpansion rampsup.
“Inorder forMacau to keep growing andprovide a better life for
people who live here, then this expansion of opportunity has to be
coupledwithenoughpeople todealwith thevisitors that comehere,”
said SteveWynn, chairman ofWynnResorts and its local subsidiary
WynnMacau, during amediabriefing inMay.HisUS$4billionCotai
project, Wynn Palace, will require roughly 9,000 workers when it
becomes operational in 2016.
MrWynn did not go as far as calling on theMacau government
to change its labor policies. A foreign operator would undoubtedly
feel uneasy making such a politically sensitive demand. Rival SJM,
founded by local casino mogul Stanley Ho, has no such qualms,
however. “We, the industry, certainly think it best if croupierpositions
are open to migrant workers,” Chief Executive Ambrose So said
earlier this year. SJM’s upcoming Cotai property, the $3.9 billion
LisboaPalace, will need 8,000workerswhen it opens in 2017.
Analysts Praveen Choudhary, Alex Poon and Thomas Allen of
investment bank Morgan Stanley say the sector will need 117,000
workers following the resort openings between 2015 and 2017, an
increaseof 38%, or 32,000, above the current level.More thanhalf of
these, some 18,516workers, will need to be locals, including 12,600
dealers, based on a combined 1,800 table games at the six new
projects, with each tablehaving tobemannedby sevendealers.
“We estimate a supply of only 700 local higher-education
graduates per annum joining the gaming industry and potentially
approximately 1,900 local staff that might be available to transfer
internally. This implies a shortfall of approximately 13,800 local
employees,” they stated in a recent client note.
EachCotai Phase2propertywouldneed7K-10Knewemployees
“Weestimatea supplyofonly700
annum joining thegaming industryand
potentiallyapproximately1,900 local
staff thatmightbeavailable to transfer
internally,” say theanalystsatMorgan
Stanley. “This impliesa shortfall of
approximately13,800 local employees.”
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