Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in view of the expected recovery in visitor arrivals to between 4 and 6 million visitors in 2022 (a) what is the current and end-year target levels of employment for the hospitality industry as compared to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic period; and (b) whether any forms of assistance are being provided to support hiring by companies to meet the increase in demand and, if so, what are they.
Written Answer by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong
1. In December 2019, the hospitality industry employed 35,000 people. It was one of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as travel was restricted. We supported the hospitality industry with various measures like the Tier 1 Jobs Support Scheme and the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to cushion the impact to their businesses and retain core capabilities. As of March 2022, the industry employed 23,0002 people, and this number is likely to have grown with the reopening of borders in April 2022 as hospitality companies have ramped up hiring. We hope to see the industry return to normalcy in tandem with tourism recovery.
2. The reopening of borders and revival of leisure and business events have led to encouraging signs of recovery. Hospitality companies are ramping up operations to meet the increasing demand, as seen from the exciting calendar of events in the second half of 2022, such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix. To help the industry promote local hiring, STB had partnered NTUC, NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (NTUC’s e2i), WSG and key Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to launch the Tourism Careers Hub in January 2022. This Hub facilitates job matching of local candidates with the tourism sector, supports the upskilling of workers to meet evolving demands, and drives business transformation efforts. More than half of the jobseekers who sought career assistance through the TCH were placed into new jobs in the tourism sector (e.g. at hotels such as The Fullerton Hotel and Goodwood Park Hotel).
3. Companies and workers can also tap on a range of Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs) which support our mid-careerists in undertaking skills conversion to transition into the hospitality industry. Between January 2020 to May 2022, about 60 hotels participated in WSG’s CCP for Hotel Professionals, and close to 1,500 workers benefitted from the programme.
4. To supplement the tight domestic labour market, we are also working with key tourism stakeholders to provide additional foreign worker quotas for a time-limited period to support their immediate-term recovery and capture opportunities. We consider a suite of factors when doing so, including companies’ commitments to local employment outcomes and the progress of each company’s business and workforce transformation journey.
5. As the hospitality industry emerges from the crisis, we will continue to support companies in their workforce and business transformation efforts to raise productivity. We will encourage the adoption of technology through incentive schemes such as the Business Improvement Fund, and push for job redesign to create quality jobs for locals.
,2 Source: Administrative Records and Labour Force Survey, Manpower Research and Statistics Department, MOM. Note: Data are primarily from administrative records, with the self-employed component estimated from the Labour Force Survey.