Local enterprises which offer locals jobs paying only the statutory minimum wage – and those which are “insincere” about hiring local people – will not get quotas for non-resident workers (NRW) from the government, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong has said.
Speaking during a plenary session in the hemicycle of the legislature yesterday, Lei underlined that if local enterprises can fill jobs with local employees they might consider laying off NRWs.
In response to lawmakers’ suggestions about setting up a tracking mechanism to ensure that those who successfully went through the government’s job-matching process stay in their jobs, Lei said he agreed with the idea.
Lei took the Labour Affairs Bureau’s (DSAL) internship programme for college graduates as an example, pointing out that it provided 1,790 internships through the Creating Better Job Perspectives for 2022 programme for college graduates last year, thereby creating diverse internship opportunities for the graduates. Lei said that of the 900 graduates who signed up for the programme, 400 have completed the programme
Of the 506 interns who completed their internships last year, 300 chose to remain with the companies they were interning in, while 200 gave up their jobs. Lei said this was “such a shame”. He underlined that although some of the jobs did not match their degrees, each industry offers its own knowledge and experience, and young people have plenty of time to gain experience and hone their skills.
Macao residents’ unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 5 per cent in August-October from the previous employment survey period of July-September, Lei noted. He acknowledged that the unemployment rate was “not low”.
Lei said that the DSAL had hosted 12 job-matching sessions since September, with the bureau having helped 5,700 people get jobs so far this year, stressing that the government will continue to stabilise local employment next year in order to facilitate the recovery of the local economy.
Some lawmakers expressed concern about locals’ employment in the casino sector during yesterday’s Q&A session, and asked how the gaming companies will protect the employment of local people, while setting up an exit mechanism for NRWs for jobs that can be filled by local people.
DSAL Director Wong Chi Hong said during yesterday’s session that as of the end of last month, 18,514 NRWs – excluding construction workers – were employed by the city’s six gaming companies, a decrease of 16,774 from the end of January 2020.
Stressing that if employers cannot find locals to fill NRWs’ jobs they can’t lay them off, Lei also pointed out that it was currently difficult for the government to match jobs, as companies have their own hiring requirements, while many locals who went through the government’s job-matching programme had previously worked as PR staff in casinos’ VIP rooms, and they were insisting on earning the same salary as before.
Lei said that according to data provided by the six gaming companies, the proportion of local employees working as middle and senior managers now stands at over 90 per cent, adding he hoped that the percentage could be even further increased, The Macau Post Daily reported.