The Malta Independent 20 January 2019, Sunday

Misco survey confirms Malta now has a multi-ethnic workforce

The Malta Business Weekly Thursday, 10 January 2019, 12:33 Last update: about 9 days ago

77% of respondents in this year's Misco's annual survey on HR Developments in Malta stated that they recruited EU citizens whereas 44% stated that they recruited third country nationals.

"While 84% of respondents still stated that they recruited Maltese nationals, these figures confirm that the labour force in Malta is decidedly becoming multi-ethnic," says Joanne Bondin, director at Misco.

Misco compiled this fifth annual survey on HR Developments in Malta as part of its annual Salaries and Benefits Report 2018-2019. This survey, conducted between August and September of this year using an online methodology, seeks to provide an understanding of the key HR issues that local companies are facing.

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According to this latest survey, the key challenges in the HR sector remain salary demands (57%) followed by lack of experienced staff (49%) and the lack of job applications (47%) a figure that is double that reported last year.

"These results indicate that employers are being faced with a two-pronged challenge - a demand for higher salaries from employees who do not necessarily have the appropriate experience that meets their requirements and a difficulty in attracting talent," added Bondin.

It was also highly positive to see that the survey results highlighted an increased importance of the HR function in Malta, with 79% of respondents claiming that the HR function has taken a bigger role in their organisation over the last 12 months. More however, needs to be done for the HR function to play a more important role in companies' business strategy," she added.

54% of respondents mentioned a lack of appreciation of the value of the HR function by the rest of management followed by difficulties in setting up of an effective performance management system (51%) and lack of resources in the HR Unit / Department (43%).

When asked on what is going to be their top priority for the HR function in the next 12 months, 67% of respondents mentioned retaining employees as their top priority. Other priorities include managing employee engagement and motivation, staff development, strengthening the organisation culture and addressing skills shortages.

Asked what where the main recruitment difficulties, respondents mentioned lack of experience (61%), salary demands (50%), lack of applications (40%), lack of formal qualifications (17%) and lack of interpersonal skills (11%).

The survey explored the methods of recruitment deemed as the most effective and sought to also establish which methods are the most used. Compared to last year, social media have taken over recruitment agencies as the most used method of recruitment. 77% in fact stated that they seek people through social media compared to the 71% who do so through recruitment agencies. Having said this, respondents feel that they are equally effective.

Respondents were also asked if they invest in developing and communicating the company's employer brand. 65% replied in the affirmative, while 35% replied in the negative. Moreover 87% of respondents make use of psychometric assessments.

Interestingly, the survey mentions that only 54% said they have a performance management system in place of which 90% stated that it has been very or fairly effective in improving overall performance. Most performance management systems take the form of personal development plans (79%) followed by objectives' setting and review and self-assessment and appraisal (76%) of respondents.

When respondents were asked about the adoption of family-friendly measures in their organisation, four main measures were mentioned, namely the option to work on a part-time or on a reduced hours basis (75%), flexi hours (71%), working from home or remote working (52%), and special leave for certain specified circumstances (40%). Respondents also stated that the main obstacles in implementing such measures are tensions among employees (mentioned by 41% of respondents), an unfavourable business environment (32%) and costs (29%).

Misco co-founder Lawrence Zammit, reiterated his view that the HR function has maintained its increased importance especially in view of recruitment difficulties being experienced by employers.

"However, there is still not enough recognition of the value of the HR function in an organisation. This makes it incumbent on HR professionals to sustain their efforts and deliver results that are seen to have a positive bearing on the organisation by demonstrating the value of various HR initiatives and their return on investment."

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