Miri hotels facing 30% manpower shortage

SIBU: Miri’s hotel sector is experiencing a manpower shortage of approximately 30%, says the Malaysian Association of Hotels Sarawak chapter.

Its chairman John Teo said the main areas affected are the housekeeping, food and beverage service, kitchen, and front office departments.

“Most of the star-rated hotels are also looking for chefs as many have left the industry or retired,” he said in a statement on Monday (May 27)

He said lower salaries in the hospitality industry compared to other sectors and the lure of working in Singapore and earning Singapore dollars also affected hotels here.

“A… (hotel department) supervisor here would earn around RM3,000, while in Singapore, he or she would earn around S$3,000.

“After conversion, that works out to nearly RM10,500 monthly. With overtime, they can expect to earn RM12,000 to RM15,000 a month after conversion,” he said.

He also noted that fewer Sarawakians were keen to work in the hospitality industry when other sectors, such as oil and gas, paid their staff more.

“With Shell moving its headquarters to Miri, there are more opportunities to work in the oil and gas sector, what more with supporting companies also moving here.

“It is cheaper for oil and gas firms to employ Sarawakians than foreign workers, and they will not have to apply for work permits.

“It will be a tall order to solve this manpower shortage,” he said.

Teo pointed out that Miri hotels had not been doing well over the last two months, especially after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri season, with data showing that visitors from Brunei preferred to travel to Kota Kinabalu or go overseas for holidays.

“We are also seeing more and more locals travelling overseas, especially to China, Thailand, Vietnam and nearby regions,” he added.

He said international flight connectivity was another issue, with only Scoot Airlines flying to Miri from Singapore four times a week.

“There are also (limited) daily flights from Kuala Lumpur and Kuching into Miri,” he added.