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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
The New Paper
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Job title turns some women off
by Benita Aw Yeong

He says he is proud of his job, but Mr Ridzwan Salim does not reveal his occupation to people he has just met, unless they ask.

When pressed, he says: "I'm shy, lah."

Although he is a restaurant supervisor, the 25-year-old still waits on table with his team of 11 at KT's Grill, a restaurant at Universal Studios Singapore.

"My friends were working in the industry, and I thought it was quite fun," he says.

He joined the food and beverage industry as a banquet waiter when he was just 17 and worked his way up.

He has been rejected by a number of potential girlfriends because of his job.

Referring to a female friend he used to be close to, he says: "The friendship was developing at a slow and steady pace, until she asked one day about my job.

"When she found out, she said, 'You waiter, ah? Then don't want. Maybe we can just be friends.'"

He is now engaged to an assistant manager in another restaurant.

There is significantly less prestige attached to jobs in the hospitality industry here, unlike in Europe, says Mr Frank Hardy, general manager at One Degree Fifteen Marina Club.

"In countries like Switzerland, Spain, and Italy, unemployment is significantly higher than in Singapore. So a career in hospitality is considered prime.

"Here, there are many 9-to-5 options, which may be why blue-collar jobs in hospitality might be seen as second rate," he says.

The Frenchman, who has been working in the local hospitality industry for the past six years, says that in Europe, parents are proud to send their children to vocational colleges specialising in hospitality and tourism.

While local perceptions towards careers in F&B are changing gradually, there is still "a long way more to go", he says.

"It has to start from the top. The Government has to send a message that the prospects in the hospitality industry are good.

"It has to encourage youngsters to feel pride in representing this country in this line," he adds.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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