The labour market is struggling despite 30% of the private sector being made up of foreign workers
According to the Malta Employers’ Association president Dolores Sammut Bonnici manpower is ‘critically scarce’, with shortages spanning all sectors of the labour market- despite over 40, 000 foreign employees propping up the private sector.
“The thrill of being awarded a new contract is very short lived when you come face to face with the difficult task of recruiting additional staff’’ she told the MEA Annual General Meeting.
Complicating affairs is the onerous task of procuring permits for third country nationals, with the process often taking months. The creeping problem of wage inflation has also been raised as an issue, a problem stemming from an epidemic of poaching.
“Employers are all in favour of increasing wages as long as such increases are matched with productivity, but wage inflation resulting from labour shortages erodes competitiveness, especially in the export sector,” she warned.
The rising cost of living is also causing foreign employees to up and leave Malta after just a few short months residence– according to a focus group held by the MEA with researchers from the Ministry for Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity.
“Employers cannot compensate for an inflated property market – compensation for labour can only be linked to productivity and value added,” she said.