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Speech at Launch of the Hotel Sectoral Manpower Plan

Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, One Farrer Hotel and SPA

Friends and Partners

Good morning.

  1. I am very happy to join you here for the launch of the Sectoral Manpower Plan for the Hotel Industry.
  2. Tourism, including hotel industry, is today one of the key contributors to our economy.
  3. Having a vibrant tourism landscape is good for us.
    • It creates quality and diverse jobs for Singaporeans
    • Generates spin-offs for the rest of the economy, and
    • Bolsters our position as a global city.
  4. To strengthen our position as a tourism hub, we will have to keep enhancing our attractiveness, service quality and customer satisfaction for our visitors.
  5. The launch of the Hotel Sectoral Manpower Plan (SMP) today is timely. It is the first of the many SMPs to be rolled out for various sectors in due course.
  6. Broadly speaking, the main purposes of formulating SMP for the various sectors are:
    • To outline the future direction of the respective sectors
    • Identify future manpower needs and skills requirements
    • Chart future career progression pathways and
    • Nurture a more future ready Singaporean Core complemented by a better quality pool of foreign manpower.
  7. The launch of the SMP for the Hotel Industry is especially relevant to all.
  8. On one hand, with new and upcoming hotels like Genting Jurong Hotel, Sofitel So Singapore, The South Beach, Park Hotel Alexandra, The Patina and Oasia Downtown, the number of hotel rooms will increase by more than 20% by 2020. More manpower will be needed for this additional capacity.
  9. Yet on the other hand, with low unemployment and high employment rates, ageing workforce and rising aspiration, local workforce growth especially at the rank-and-file level will slow down. The supply of foreign workforce will also remain tight.
  10. Putting the two together – higher increase in demand and lower growth in supply, the challenge faced by the Hotel Industry is stark.
  11. If we maintain that better service is only possible with more manpower, there will be no way out of this manpower bottleneck.
  12. But if we are prepared to change our mindset, set the pace for change and strive for better service with leaner manpower, we will not only have breakthrough in the short term, but also sustainable growth for the long term.
  13. This is why in this SMP for the Hotel Industry, we recognize that the old model of manpower-led growth is no longer sustainable. Instead, we need to become more manpower lean.
  14. The three core functions in most hotels are: front desk, F&B and housekeeping. For example, Park Hotel Group implemented a program known as Hotel Operations Specialist Team (H.O.S.T). Team members are trained to perform all three functions, and can be deployed flexibly to supplement manpower needs during peak periods. In other words, H.O.S.T can help to break the manpower bottleneck.
  15. This has resulted in more responsive service for the customers, more manpower-lean operations for the hotels, and better jobs and wages for the staff. Win-Win-Win.
  16. There are many more areas we can pursue such manpower lean concept. Our challenge is to continue to deepen and broaden this new mindset throughout the Hotel Industry.
  17. Take for example, Dr Richard Helfer, Chairman of One Farrer Pte Ltd guided me on a tour around the hotel. I am impressed that this hotel is 30% more manpower lean than the rest of the hotels in the industry. Well done!
  18. If we do it well, we will not only be able to break the manpower bottleneck, but also transform services to create better jobs and better careers, to attract, retain and nurture a stronger Singaporean Core to drive and sustain the growth of Singapore as a vibrant hub for tourism and Business Travellers, Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition. “BTMICE” in short.
  19. To succeed in strengthening our Singaporean Core, we need to create more and better career opportunities for Singaporeans to move into at all levels: from internship for students, to first jobs for new graduates, skills upgrading, updating and conversion for mid-career, and leadership development for high potential.
  20. We will strongly support all these efforts in the development of human capital through SkillsFuture.
  21. Internship for ITE and Polytechnic students will be enhanced for the students to better connect their learning to the workplace.
  22. SkillsFuture Earn & Learn Programme will be rolled out in 2016 for polytechnic graduates to acquire the Specialist Diploma in Hospitality Business Management.
  23. ITE graduates will also be able to participate in the SkillsFuture Earn & Learn Programme for the Hotel Industry soon after that for the polytechnic students.
  24. SkillsFuture Study Awards will be offered to support those in the early to mid-career to deepen their core skills.
  25. Last but not least, one area of top priority is to groom future talents for senior to top positions in the Hotel Industry.
  26. I call on our industry players to step forward and join the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative for the Hotel Industry.
  27. We can customise the programme according to your needs so as to provide holistic development and global exposure to our future industry leaders.
  28. For the SMP to succeed, we need strong tripartite partnership.
  29. I am pleased that a Hotel Sectoral Tripartite Committee has been formed to drive the Hotel SMP.
  30. I thank you for your participation in the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme. I hope you will also join us in the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative.
  31. I also thank the Singapore Hotel Association, the Food Drinks & Allied Workers Union, the Attractions, Resorts and Entertainment Union and Institute of Higher Learning (IHLs) for the partnership and joint leadership.
  32. Working together (Government agencies, Businesses, and Unions), I am confident that we can achieve our shared objectives:
    • Manpower-Lean and sustainable growth for the industry, and
    • Good jobs and better careers for our people.

Thank you.