We know already Macau is busting at it’s seams. But two recent articles are bringing doom but not gloom. There are just too many jobs but not enough people for those jobs in Macau.
Macao’s booming casino industry is to need at least 50,000 croupiers in 2009, The Macao Post Daily quoted Joao Bosco Cheang Hong Lok, chairman of the Macao Gaming Industry Workers Association, as saying that a large number of residents are keen to become croupiers as the job does not require high level education yet offers “good benefits.” The number of the current croupiers stood at 20,000 or 7 percent of Macao’s labor force.
So this means that Macau needs to train another 30,000 new croupiers by 2009, or about 18% of the labour force!
And then we get this, “There is a structural nightmare awaiting Macau in three to five years unless something is done about the labour situation,” said Barry Brewster, director of human resources management firm Evans and Peck.
“We feel Macau is rapidly assuming the mantle of Las Vegas in every way, not just in gaming but also in the associated industries like entertainment,” said Jeb Rand, of Vegas-based Rand Productions, which stages ice skating shows around the world.
“That means that family entertainment and other diversions will begin coming here as they did in Vegas 20-30 years ago,” added Rand. “It’s a rapidly maturing market.”
But the casino boom has not been good for other parts of the city’s economy.
With a workforce of just 250,000 and most forecasters projecting that the casinos will create at least another 20,000-100,000 jobs over the next 10 years, competition for staff has created a cut-throat labour market.
“Staff retention is a huge problem in Macau,” said Brewster. “Poaching of even low-level personnel, like construction workers, is common and at the level of croupier and dealers, it’s brutal.”
Brewster cited the example of the latest mega-casino, the towering Grand Lisboa. When it opened last month, it was offering such high wages that it was able to attract some 160 dealers from a rival casino.
The knock-on effect is that infrastructure that also need staff, such as hospitals and schools, cannot compete with the casinos, which in some cases are offering triple the monthly salaries — around 2,000 dollars — of a teacher.
“There is an imbalance; people are leaving state jobs for the casinos because they pay more,” said Albano Martins, a Macau-based economist.
Led by gaming tycoon , casino owners are calling for a relaxation of immigration laws to allow thousands of overseas workers into the city. Ho has said that at least 200,000 will be needed.
Indeed disaster is looming, as the government has to balance those demands against concerns of the local population fearful of an influx of foreigners. In a rare display of public anger, some 6,000 people joined a protest march against such a move late last year.