International edition
October 19, 2021

Discontent over pay disparity between locals and foreigners

SJM want more locals employed in Macau casinos

(Macau).- Gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun's gambling flagship has backed the Macau government's move to require foreign casino operators to promote more locals into high-paying management jobs. Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) Holdings, Macau's only home-grown casino corporation, said the people of Macau had reached a point where they needed more upward mobility.


JM want to see foreign casinos employ more locals in high-level management jobs in Macau's casinos, according to a South China Morning Post report. There's some suggestion locally that there should be a "quota" requirement introduced, the report said. 

Some locals have expressed discontent over the disparity in pay between themselves and foreigners, according to the South China Morning Post. "As society changes, as the economy develops and as people's academic qualifications rise, such a time for upward mobility has come," said executive director Angela Leong On-kei.

With licence renewal talks for foreign operators expected to start in two years, Macau Chief Executive Chui Sai On pledged in his policy address last week to ensure more Macau people would get jobs in the companies' management. The long-term direction would be towards setting aside a "certain proportion" of these positions for locals, he said. The move was prompted in part by locals' discontent over their pay disparity with foreigners, who occupy mostly managerial-level jobs.

Under the official occupational category of "directors and managers", overseas gaming staff earn an average of us$ 8,000 a month - 50 per cent more than locals take home.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Leong, a member of the Macau Legislative Assembly, said SJM had been largely favorable to the local workforce. "As to why some Westerners are in these jobs, it's all about bank financing, share promotion and roadshows. In these regards, they are more experienced," said Leong. But, she added, that was changing. "The people in Macau are gradually maturing," she said. "They graduate from universities, study overseas and work in big investment banks."

SJM Holdings, a monopoly until the casino industry was opened up in 2002, controls one of six companies authorised to operate games of chance in casinos, under the terms of a government concession. The other operators are Wynn Macau, Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment Group, MGM China Holdings and Melco Crown Entertainment.

Official statistics showed the industry had 55,000 full-time employees in the second quarter of this year. The 24,000-plus dealers are all Macau people. Overseas operators have voiced support for Chui's ideas.

Wynn Resorts said it was "committed to priority recruiting from our local community and to developing local talent". Sands said it "welcomed communication with the Macau government, and we continue to maintain our goal of hiring and further developing local talent".

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