The shortage of skilled labour and how best to address it

But what brought this about? As the pandemic came knocking on our door a number of jobs were made redundant in order to control cost and a number of individuals sought pastures anew in order to secure their future. As family businesses, throughout the pandemic, went into survival mode, hitting the panic button and releasing staff, now such industries are suffering the consequences of such drastic but required actions.

On the local scene, and in a recent event, The Malta Employers’ Association (MEA) tried addressing the issue at hand. Through a conference titled “Ensuring the Skills for Future Competitiveness “ a number of recommendations highlighted hereunder have been put forward to address the current skills shortages affecting Maltese industry.

MEA President Joanne Bondin explained how “we are currently experiencing a lack of human resources across the board. It is a constant challenge for employers to find employees with the right skills and qualifications to the extent that it is raising concerns about business continuity and competitiveness. To overcome this serious predicament, we need to focus on becoming more efficient and innovative in our business models and operations whilst addressing the social and economic needs of our country”.

MEA Director-General Joseph Farrugia opening the Forum, argued that “while lack of skills is a global challenge, there are specific issues for Malta, including a low birth rate and a high percentage of young people opting or willing to leave for good. Incentives need to be designed to retain labour, while at the same time have a clear economic direction for the country. MEA stressed on the importance of channeling the recommendations towards a sustained growth based on skills, innovation and economic transformation”.

In a recent survey conducted by the MEA, 53% of businesses , family or non family businesses alike, claimed that the current situation was exerting a significant impact on their businesses including serious disruption on their operations and stretched out resources. A further 12% responded that the impact on their business was “severe” to the extent that business continuity was severely at risk.

Covid changed the field of work possibly on a permanent or at least semi permanent basis as workers’ new priorities shift in favour of flexible work arrangements, particularly post-pandemic this has been further exacerbated by the challenge ahead for employers. The MEA’s 13 recommendations emerged from extensive research, focus groups and consultation with a wide array of economic stakeholders, including industry leaders, entrepreneurs and officials from government authorities and agencies.

The SME National Forum 2022 entitled Ensuring the Skills for Future Competitiveness, served to debate the recommendations with a view to strengthening the MEA’s call for action. These include a call for capitalising on digital skills, investing in training and mentorship, a better connection between academia and industry, the prioritisation of risk assessment and the strengthening of good governance among others. Many stakeholders addressing the Forum highlighted the 13 recommendations put forward by the MEA and called on the authorities to implement the recommendations as soon as practically possible to ensure the smooth functioning of the labour market now and in the years to come.


The recommendations arising from the forum were as follows ;

  1. RELEASE idle resources in public sector to business.
  2. PROMOTE careers not Jobs.
  3. CONNECT Academia to Industry.
  4. INVEST in training and mentorship.
  5. COMMIT to Work-based Learning
  6. CAPITALISE on Digital Skills.
  7. STRENGTHEN regulators’ resources.
  8. ENCOURAGE work beyond retirement.
  9. ENHANCE career guidance structures.

10.INSTIL better attitudes and soft skills in our children.

11.IMPROVE Malta’s attractiveness as a place of work

12.PRIORITISE risk assessment for future competitiveness.

13.ENSURE business stability through good governance


(All factual and statistical information presented in this blog has been obtained from an extract of a recent article published by the Malta Employers Association.) Follow us on our Facebook page and Family Business Office website at

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