Service industry ‘to hire for the holidays’

By Kuan-lin Liu ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s 1111 Job Bank on Wednesday reported that 83 percent of service industry companies were looking to increase manpower for the end-of-the-year holiday season. Lee Da-hua (李大華), the job bank’s deputy general manager, outlined results of a survey on the service industry’s employee demand during the ongoing holiday season, which spans from November to January.

Lee reported that these three months made up roughly 40 percent of many service providers’ annual sales, which explained why 66 percent of interviewed companies were actively capitalizing on holiday sales opportunities and why 83 percent of companies were recruiting more temporary workers to meet the increase in business.

Of all the segments under the umbrella label “service industries,” tourism, department store retail and dining ranked in the top three industries (in descending order) that claimed the most additional demand for manpower this holiday season.

Within these three industries, the jobs that most need filling are servers (45.2 percent), customer service personnel (44.9 percent) and kitchen aids (28 percent).

Nearly 48 percent of companies interviewed said they would be willing to raise the hourly pay to recruit temporary workers for the busy holiday season. Of these companies, 2.29 percent said they would go as far as to double the hourly wage.

In fact, Lee said, the need for kitchen aids who have training and experience is so high that many companies are willing to pay workers of other restaurants what they could have made in year-end bonuses to come work for them instead.

In general, companies are targeting students, part-time workers and full-time workers to fill these temporary positions, in descending order of preference. Lee suggested that this could be a good opportunity to get “one’s foot in the door at a company and transition into a full-time job there” after the Lunar New Year, which is typically when people in Taiwan change jobs. Effects of the Labor Bill Lee said businesses that need employees to work on weekends, such as those in many service industries, would be most severely affected by the “one flexible, one fixed day off” clause in the labor bill that the Legislature passed on Tuesday.

The increase in personnel cost that the clause would bring could mean that restaurants and other service providers would either extend their business hours “to a near 24-hour operation” or open up new branches, Lee said.

In these scenarios, big companies would have a competitive edge over small businesses and may rearrange employees’ schedules to abide by the new law.