Malta’s workforce now multi-ethnic, according to Misco survey

Demand for higher salaries and difficulties in attracting talent emerged in the study as the principle challenges facing employers

Almost 80% of employers recruit EU citizens, a survey has found
Almost 80% of employers recruit EU citizens, a survey has found

The vast majority of employers in Malta actively employ foreigners as part of their workforce, a survey has found.

According to figures indicated in MISCO’s annual survey on human resources developments, 77% of responding employers said that they recruited European Union citizens, while 44% employed third country nationals.

Although the survey also showed that 84% of respondents still recruit Maltese nationals, MISCO director Joanne Bondin said the figures confirm that Malta’s labour force is “decidedly becoming multi-ethnic”.

The key challenges in the HR sector remain salary demands, experienced by 57% of employers, a lack of experiences staff, at 49%, and a shortage of job applications, which, at 47%, is twice last year’s figure.

“These results indicate that employers are being faced with a two-pronged challenge – a demand for higher salaries from employees who do not necessarily have the appropriate experience that meets their requirements and a difficulty in attracting talent,” Bondin underscored.

She said that it was highly positive that the function of an HR department is being given increased importance, with 79% of respondents claiming that this has taken a bigger role in their organisation over the last twelve months.

Despite this, she said more still needs to be done for the HR function to play a more important role in companies’ business strategy.

The figures show that 54% of respondents mentioned a lack of appreciation of the value of the HR section by the rest of management. Difficulties in setting up of an effective performance management system (51%) and a lack of resources in the HR unit (43%) were also highlighted.

Retaining their employees was mentioned as the top priority by 67% of employers.

Other priorities noted include managing employee engagement and motivation, staff development, strengthening the organisation culture and addressing skills shortages.

Lack of experience is major issue

Asked what the main recruitment difficulties encountered were, respondents mentioned a lack of experience( 61%), salary demands (50%), a shortage of applications (40%), a lack of formal qualifications (17%) and insufficient interpersonal skills (11%).

The survey went on to explore the methods of recruitment deemed the most effective, and sought to also establish which methods are the most frequently used.

Compared to last year, social media has taken over recruitment agencies as the favourite method of recruitment, with 77% responding that they sought people through such platforms, compared to the 71% who do so through recruitment firms.

They said, however, that the two methods were equally effective at finding recruits.

Respondents were also asked if they invest in developing and communicating the company's employer brand, with 65% replying in the affirmative. Close to 90% of respondents make use of psychometric assessments.

Half of employers have no performance management system

The survey uncovered that only 54% of employers have a performance management system in place, of which 90% considered this very or fairly effective in improving overall performance.

Most performance management systems take the form of personal development plans (79%) followed by objectives’ setting and review and self-assessment and appraisal (76%) of respondents.

In terms of the adoption of family-friendly measures, four main initiatives were mentioned, namely the option to work on a part-time or on a reduced hours basis (75%), flexi hours (71%), working from home or remote working (52%), and special leave for certain specified circumstances (40%).

Respondents also stated that the main obstacles in implementing such measures are tensions among employees (mentioned by 41% of respondents), an unfavourable business environment (32%) and costs (29%).

The survey was conducted between August and September of this year, using an online methodology which seeks to provide an understanding of the key HR issues that local companies are facing.

More in Business News