Malta skyline

In August 2022, the number of unemployed persons who stand within the working age population was just 8,446 individuals, translating to an unemployment rate of 2.9 per cent.

Business lobbies, stakeholders and the private sector in general have continually expressed serious concern at the lack of workers available to drive Malta’s economic recovery, and resulting in higher wage bills as companies need to pay more to stave off the poaching of workers. This is impacting Malta’s competitiveness as a whole.

The data comes to light through a National Statistics Office update, which shows that the August unemployment rate is on par with the preceding two months and decreased by 0.4 percentage points compared to August of last year.

Companies struggle to fill vacancies

The Malta Chamber, The Malta Employers Association and The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association have continually taken Malta’s Government to task over the growing number of public sector workers, who they say have been poached from the private sector.

When looking at hard data on the country’s employment statistics, and the bureaucratic difficulties in finding workers overseas, it is no wonder that Malta’s business interest groups are frustrated by being in serious competition with the country’s own Government for workers.

Indeed, the NSO’s own statistics show that public sector employment has been on the rise for almost a decade, increasing by 10,000 workers since 2013, roughly representing a 20 per cent increase.

“Whilst it is understandable that the public sector needs staffing at certain levels, it is also evident that there is overstaffing across various strata and in various Government departments and entities. It runs contrary to business competitiveness to have a situation where Government is indirectly soliciting human capital from the private sector,” the Malta Chamber cautioned last month.

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