Foreign influx taking up half of new jobs

While local unemployment has dropped, sectors like iGaming attract many foreign applicants

Education minister Evarist Bartolo said today that about half of the employment opportunities in Malta are being taken up by foreigners.

Bartolo explained that the vast majority of these jobs were taken up by EU residents and only a small protion of these jobs were given to those from sub-Saharan Africa.
"There are various reasons behind this," he explained, adding that the figure varies depending on the sector on question.

Bartolo explained that there were specific areas, such as iGaming, where Maltese people simply didn't have the necessary skills such as Scandinavian languages for instance.

"There are other sectors like construction where Maltese workers seem to have lost the necessary skill set."

“It’s not just about attitudes, where some Maltese refuse to work as waiters or as cleaners but it is also down to the fact that we have neglected to develop necessary skills,” he added.

Explaining that the international workforce was a very positive thing, Bartolo said that the trend has been on the rise since Malta's accession to the EU in 2004 and the mobility it brought with it, as well as the recent economic crisis.

ETC chairman Clyde Caruana said that the corporation was planning a study to create an employability index for Maltese students.

"The study will hopefully identify the areas education needs to focus on, to provide the necessary skills," he said, explaining that the study would be the first of its kind in Malta.

Bartolo said that Malta retained one of the highest rates in the EU for student employability, with a rate of over 90%.

"The report will help us to determine where under-employment for Maltese workers is strongest and how we can tackle it," he said.

Economy minister Chris Cardona said that unemployment rates had dropped significantly.

Referring to NSO statistics published yesterday, Cardona said that recent initiatives like the Youth Guarantee had effectively led to a 12% increase in youth employment compared to last year. 

He added that the private sector was being incentivised to employ more people, with some eight of every ten jobs created residing in the private sector.

“Over the past two years some 400 new jobs were created in manufacturing, 600 in construction, and around 1,100 in retail and sales among others,” Cardona said.

Talking about those who had been registered unemployed for a long time, Bartolo said that the EU was working on a scheme that worked similarly to the Youth Guarantee Scheme aimed at long term unemployed.