Coronavirus Jobs/New infections

Food service sector picks up with more than 9,200 job openings

37% of these jobs are for PMETs, and other roles have low barriers to entry, says MOM

From left: Ms Yeo Wan Ling, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and director of the NTUC Women and Family Unit and U SME; Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling; and Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo on a
From left: Ms Yeo Wan Ling, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and director of the NTUC Women and Family Unit and U SME; Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling; and Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo on a visit to food service firm Select Group in Senoko South Road on Friday.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The food service sector is continuing to pick up speed with its hiring, with over 9,200 job openings posted as at end-December on the MyCareersFuture portal, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Around 37 per cent of these jobs are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and include roles such as food and beverage managers and sales, marketing and business development managers. Roles for non-PMETs include cooks, waiters, bartenders and baristas.

"Non-PMET food service roles have low barriers to entry and companies are able to provide flexible working hours," said the MOM on Friday.

"The sector is open to hiring workers of different profiles, including older workers, students looking for part-time jobs and even caregivers who are looking for flexible work arrangements."

Salaries can range from $1,600 to $2,000 for waiters and go up to $6,500 for sales, marketing and business development managers.

But the sector can also become more attractive to locals, as companies transform operations through digitalisation and create enhanced job roles, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told a briefing on the sidelines of a visit to food services firm Select Group on Friday.

She said: "We do have companies that are not just looking to back-fill their vacancies. They also looked at transformation, and the transformation efforts resulted in enhanced jobs.

"This growth not only requires sustained efforts on the companies' end, but also support from the Government."

To this end, a new job redesign reskilling programme for food service assistants will be launched in the first quarter of the year to help redesign the jobs of non-PMET workers to support firms' digitalisation and automation.

Enhanced job roles include service ambassadors and kitchen technicians. About 400 workers are expected to benefit.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling added: "Covid-19 has resulted in greater urgency for the companies to pivot and transform in order to stay relevant and competitive."

For instance, Select Group automated tasks like order taking and payment processing, and trained 120 staff to gain new skills so they can adopt tech tools in the workplace.

Some outlet managers received training in data analytics so they can draw insights from the digital systems and launch proactive marketing activities.

These staff could support the company's use of new digital technologies, as it used online platforms like food delivery apps and online food ordering to get through the pandemic.

Select Group managing director Vincent Tan said: "Covid-19 is something that is unpredictable but we take the approach that we still have to move forward, so we train our staff. Once we are ready for the next stage of growth, they will already have been equipped with the skills for that."

The company tapped the job redesign reskilling programme for the food service sector, where existing workers are trained and redeployed into higher value roles.

Overall, the programme has helped more than 1,100 workers from 33 firms in the food service industry to be reskilled as of December last year, the MOM said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 24, 2021, with the headline 'Food service sector picks up with more than 9,200 job openings'. Subscribe