Malta’s business confidence is on the rise, despite a rampant staff shortage limiting the majority of businesses operations, according to a survey conducted by VISTAGE Malta in collaboration with The Malta Chamber.
With 77 per cent of responding businesses reporting a struggle to find workers across skill levels, 61 per cent stated that hiring challenges were limiting their company’s ability to operate at full capacity.
Despite this, the survey, which collated the feedback of 199 respondents from companies generally employing more than 100 workers, found that despite these staffing difficulties, optimism among businesses was reportedly on the rise, with the Malta Confidence Index rising from 87.6 in the previous iteration of the survey, to 148.6 in the most recent.
All six factors comprising the overall index rose, with sentiment surrounding recent improvements in the Malta economy showing the largest improvement.
Looking to the future, respondents indicated a positive economic outlook. Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of business leaders felt that Malta’s economic conditions would improve in the next 12 months, in a stark increase on the 29 per cent recorded in the survey a quarter before.
This increase in confidence is reflected in more optimistic projections for their businesses in the year ahead, where the majority of businesses (59 per cent) are now expecting increased revenue.
It is worth noting, however, that the survey was conducted in June, prior to Malta’s shock greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which signalled to the international community that there is an increased risk of doing business in Malta.
Discussing why they thought employees were leaving, 64 per cent of businesses reported that their staff were looking for higher salaries, although only 40 per cent planned to boost wages to help mitigate this problem.
Slightly under a quarter of respondents reported having not adjusted their employees’ wages, whereas just over 30 per cent stated they’d increased them by one to three per cent.
The remaining respondents increased wages by over four per cent.
A significant proportion of respondents (45 per cent) stated that they plan to tackle the issue by developing their existing workforce.
Notably, 63 per cent of businesses also reported they would embrace the idea of investing in robots and automation to tackle labour shortages.
Skilled workers and professional staff were the most challenging to find, according to the survey, with around 40 per cent of respondents reporting difficulties finding workers in both of these categories.
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