The Malta Independent 2 February 2023, Thursday
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More than 80% of women aged 25-39 actively participate in labour force - Minister Cardona

Helena Grech Thursday, 16 March 2017, 14:47 Last update: about 7 years ago

Economy Minister Chris Cardona has revealed that the female labour force participation rate has exceeded that of 80 per cent for women aged between 25 and 39.

Labour force participation refers to the proportion of a population that is within working age, and can be employed or unemployed, but are actively seeking out employment.

Malta has had historically low figures within Europe for the amount of females that participated in the workforce. At a time where   Western populations are ageing due to people living longer coupled with people having less children, governments cannot afford to have active capable adults choosing not to work on a large scale.

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The free childcare system was praised in particular for giving women the right tools to enter the labour force, where it was said that prior to 2014 (before the government measure came into effect), only 18 per cent of families with children aged 0-3 were making use of a free childcare service.

Now that this has become a state sponsored venture, 50 per cent of families with children of that age are making use of free childcare, making it more possible and feasible to enter the workforce.

Unemployment

Minister Cardona together with JobsPlus chairman Clyde Caruana revealed that as of yesterday, 2,730 persons are currently registered for work, the lowest in Malta’s history.

Both Dr Cardona and Mr Caruana explained that Malta’s biggest challenge in the face of unprecedented economic growth is to ensure that the local workforce has the skills needed for the job opportunities, which are becoming increasingly specialised.

In the meantime, an ever-growing number of foreign workers have been attracted to the island in order to fulfil the needs of employers, especially in the remote gaming industry.

In fact, Mr Caruana revealed that between January and February 2016, there were 1,200 applications by foreigners wishing to get a work permit, while for the same period this year the number increased to 2,000+ applications.

Dr Cardona spoke of Germany’s once had high rates of unemployment prior to 2006, but took a number of enterprise friendly measures to combat this. He said the measures taken by this government have been modelled under the German measures which have reaped much success both in Germany and at home.

Employment

Eurostat figures show that for the fourth quarter of 2016 Malta experienced the largest employment increase by any other EU member state, reaching 1.9 per cent compared, with the third quarter of 2016.

This figure is just over double the second and third best performing countries in terms of employment increases between Q3 and Q4 of 2014, that of Luxembourg and Cyprus which experienced growth of 0.9 per cet.

Sustainable of growth

Asked by members of the press whether Malta’s economy is heading towards a “burn out”, and that the current growth rates being experienced are unsustainable, Dr Cardona explained that one of the main tools to fight this is the island’s luxury of being a “nimble jurisdiction”. This refers to the fact that compared with bigger countries, with more cumbersome legislative processes, the island can adapt laws to react or pre-empt possible problems in a much more timely fashion.

He also said that there were emerging economies from the 60s and 70s that are still growing at a steady pace today, therefore illustrating that strong growth does not necessary lead to a burn out.

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