Macau-based gaming operator Sands China Ltd has announced a new “career development opportunity” for those of its gaming workers that possess a Macau ID. The scheme will allow them to move to non-gaming sectors.
“The first 1,000 team members who join [the programme] will train to work in one of several diverse non-gaming areas, including food and beverage, security, business development, wardrobe, guest relations, housekeeping and facilities,” the firm said in a press release on Tuesday.
The company stated the voluntary scheme offered “gaming team members opportunities for horizontal career mobility to non-gaming departments”. It added it was the “first career development programme of its kind in Macau to be implemented at such a large scale”.
According to the gaming operator, “around 1,200 local team members” have already shown interest in the scheme.
Participants in the programme will take new positions at Sands China properties, including at under-construction Parisian Macao, set to open in the summer. Those taking part in the scheme will be entitled to stay in their new roles for a period of two years with a possibility to extend the role for another year.
“All participating team members have the option to return to their original positions with 30-days’ notice. Team members who complete the programme choose whether to remain in their new roles or return to their original ones,” the firm stated.
“Our team members are our greatest assets, and our success would not be possible without their dedication and professionalism,” Antonio Ramirez, senior vice president of human resources for Sands China, said in a statement included in the press release.
He added: “This is our latest effort to invest further in them, providing new opportunities to broaden their career horizons with new skill sets, training and experience.”
Demand down for gaming posts
Several Macau gaming operators in recent months introduced internal transfer programmes, allowing casino staff – namely those holding a Macau ID – to move to non-gaming departments under different arrangements.
These schemes have been presented as ways to offer development and promotion opportunities for local workers, following guidelines set by the Macau government. But gaming labour groups have labelled the programmes as veiled job-cutting measures.
The move coincides with a period of declining volume in gambling in the city. Some investment analysts expect the decline to persist this year. The city’s casino gross gaming revenue has been decreasing for the past 21 months measured in year-on-year terms.
In Macau, the government has a policy of reserving casino dealer jobs for Macau permanent ID holders.
The latest data compiled by Macau’s Statistics and Census Service shows a sharp slowdown in worker demand in the gaming sector. Only 376 new employees were hired for the industry in the fourth quarter of 2015, down by 81 percent compared to the same prior-year period. This is despite several new casino resorts being under construction in Cotai.
Macau’s gaming industry recorded a year-on-year decrease of 4.4 percent in the number of casino dealers in 2015. There were no job vacancies for dealers in the fourth quarter of 2015, a first since the statistics bureau started compiling information on this topic, in 2007.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, Macau’s gaming industry had a total of 56,217 full-time employees, a decrease of 1,540 year-on-year. The figure excluded junket promoters and junket associates.
Sands China said in its preliminary 2015 annual results announcement, published on February 19, that it had close to 27,000 employees, including gaming and non-gaming staff.
Last year, the firm sent a group of casino dealers to Singapore to spend 12 months on secondment at the Marina Bay Sands casino resort. The latter was developed and is operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp, the parent company of Sands China.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China