Lack of labour skills ‘major obstacle’ for Maltese business

A Eurobarometer survey finds Maltese companies among the most likely in Europe to say that the availability of adequate skills in the labour market is an obstacle to expansion

Malta economic growth over the last five years has prompted a surge in demand for foreign labour in various sectors, but skills competences are not always rewarded despite the intercontinental influx of workers
Malta economic growth over the last five years has prompted a surge in demand for foreign labour in various sectors, but skills competences are not always rewarded despite the intercontinental influx of workers

Maltese companies are among the most likely in Europe to say that the availability of adequate skills in the labour market is an obstacle to expansion.

Although business companies ranked the third most likely in Europe to say they are able to realise any investment they wish to make, they were also the second most likely to consider lack of skills “a major obstacle”.

This emerges from a Eurobarometer survey held among 10,626 companies in the EU which included 200 Maltese companies.

Companies in Austria (73%), Germany (71%) and Malta (70%) were the most likely to say they are able to make at least some of their desired investments, while the lowest proportions can be seen in the UK (35%), in Ireland (37%), in Slovakia (39%) and in Bulgaria (40%).

A third of companies in Malta say that they are able to make all the desired investment compared to 21% of companies in all EU 28 members.

On the other hand, the report shows that Maltese companies are only second to Bulgarians in seeing the shortage of labour skills as a factor inhibiting investment.

38% of Maltese companies consider lack of skills as a “major obstacle” to investment compared to 24% of all EU companies and only 11% of UK and Dutch companies.

But Maltese companies are the least likely in Europe to consider “a poor or uncertain economic outlook” as a major obstacle to investment, in what is a clear indication of a positive outlook in the country.

Just 3% – compared to 44% in Italy and 29% in all EU countries – expressed this view while 60% of Maltese companies said “a poor economic climate” was not an obstacle at all for them.

Maltese companies are also among the least likely to see labour costs as a factor inhibiting their investment, in contrast to Poland, Slovenia, Belgium (all three 44%) and France (41%). Companies are least likely to say this in the UK and Malta (both 11%) and Germany (13%).

Just 3% of companies in Malta and 4% in the UK think that the complexity of tax rules is a major obstacle to investment.

Companies in Italy (39%) and Malta (32%) are the most likely to say that building permits and other authorisations is not an issue that applies to their business.

Companies in Romania (72%) are the most likely to say that building permits and other authorisations are at least a minor obstacle to investment, followed by companies in Spain (60%), Austria (56%) and Poland (54%). The lowest proportions can be seen in Estonia (19%), Malta (21%) and Hungary (22%).

Overall the Maltese companies are the sixth least likely among those in all the 28 member states to face investment barriers. The least to face such barriers are companies in the UK, Denmark and Finland while companies in Greece, Portugal and Romania are the most likely to feel constrained by obstacles to investment. The survey, which was published last week, was conducted in November 2017.

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