Desk jobs fuel thirst for office space in Malta

Between 2014 and 2017, desk-based employment grew from 33,312 to 46,763, a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12%

Desk-based employment is driving the demand for office and commercial space in Malta, with large employers in the remote gaming and financial services industry opting to lease entire floors and business centres for their operations.

A financial analysis summary for a €15 million bond issue for property developers Exalco – developers of the Golden Mile business centre on St George’s Bay, better known as the GIG headquarters – foresees a greater demand for office space in the coming years.

Between 2014 and 2017, desk-based employment grew from 33,312 to 46,763, a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12%, stockbrokers Rizzo Farrugia said in their financial analysis.

“Consequently, this leads to total desk-based workforce to account approximately 24.4% of total workforce in 2017, a noteworthy increase over the 2014 figure of 20.3%. Moreover, this indicates that desk-based employment is growing at a rate higher than other type of employments. Going forward, it is clear that Malta’s economy is reliant on the growth and sustainability of desk-based sectors.”

The market for the rental of office and commercial space in Malta has grown substantially over the past years, driven by the increase in employment, most notably that of foreign workers.

In 2017, Malta’s economy grew by 6.6% to €11.1 billion, with a foreign direct investment inflow attracted by the Labour government’s business-friendly drive and the island’s favourable tax system for foreign shareholders. Foreign workers exceeded 30,000 – approximately 16.5% of employed workers in Malta.

“Most of the employees working within desk-based industries are concentrated in financial services activities, gaming and betting activities, employment activities, legal and accounting services, computer programming and consultancy services, as well as office administration. Together, these account for nearly 68% of all desk-based employment in Malta,” Rizzo Farrugia said in their analysis.

The largest growth was reported in the gaming and betting activities sector as employment levels doubled from 3,192 in 2014 to 6,398 in 2017. Subsequently, in nominal terms, the employment activities sector, the management consultancy activities and legal and accounting activities were the key contributors in growth adding 1,642, 1,292 and 1,070 workers respectively.

“To accommodate the growing demand, there has been an increase in the supply of office and commercial space in Malta. In fact, several business centres have recently been completed and are currently fully operational. A few of these include The Centre at Tigné Point, Aragon House in St Julian’s, the Golden Mile in St Julian’s, and SkyParks in Luqa. Other major developments that will feature substantial office and commercial space currently in progress include Pendergardens in St Julian’s, Mercury House in Paceville, and The Quad and Trident Park, both in Mriehel.”

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