SINGAPORE — There were 1,590 job openings for receptionists and information clerks last year, but the Manpower Ministry’s latest report on job vacancies showed that employers found it difficult to fill about seven out of 10, or 68 per cent, openings with locals.
In fact, 720 vacancies for receptionists remained unfilled for at least six months.
Despite more receptionist jobs being added each year — 500 openings each year in Clerical Support Workers group — the take-up rate is low.
Ms Adeline Teoh, president of the Association of Rooms Division Executives, said: “We all know why people are not willing to work in the service sector or hotel industry. One of the main reasons is the shift, salary is also an issue … We can’t change that … I think that is why service professionals are trained in and groomed for such an environment.”
There are exceptions like Gwendolyn Chia, who had wanted to work in the industry since young.
The 21-year-old was recently named International Receptionist of the Year, becoming the fifth Singaporean to win the award.
She said that the courses she took under the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) programme have helped her win the accolade, and also gave her a better understanding of the industry.
The Workforce Development Authority said companies that send their employees to the courses have seen them gain job-specific skills which they would not have acquired in school.
Ms Teoh said: “I think the feedback from the industry (and) from the employers is perhaps Singaporeans can do better in terms of generic skills like communication, thinking on their feet and problem solving, these types of skills. So this is an area where WSQ also offers training.”