There was a time where a tsunami of applications was received whenever an employer posted a vacancy. There was a time where ample selection could be enjoyed, and it was difficult to manage all the number of relevant applications received.
Today, we speak of businesses experiencing nightmares to engage specialists for most roles, having to resort to a headhunter or recruitment agency. By no means is this solely an issue for employers seeking specialised staff, as even jobs which do not require a tertiary level of education are being frowned upon by the Maltese. This leads such employers to target foreign staff who may be accustomed to less thriving economic conditions. This applies to manual workers, clerical staff, supervisors, drivers, catering staff and many other occupations even at graduate/entry level. Attempts at recruitment marketing do not always yield the desired results especially with little budgets. This situation worsens as the country continues to reach unprecedented highs of economic growth.
Notwithstanding, engaging foreigners may not always be the most efficient approach, especially when considering that permits can take months to process. In addition to that we are also now facing the scenario of foreign employees leaving Malta due to an increased cost of living, fuelled mainly by the skyrocketing of rental and property prices.
The lack of adequate staff is a threat for the existence of such organisations, increasing operational costs and employee stress, notwithstanding the gaps which can only be filled by specific roles. Poaching talent may be a short-term solution, however the shortage in potential employees/candidates leads to wage inflation, making it difficult for small to medium enterprises to cope. On a more positive note, the increase in female participation in the workplace together with an increased number of retirees opting to maintain their contribution in the workforce, is an added plus in filling vacant positions.
So what are the main reasons behind this struggle to recruit the right staff?
Gaming and other high performing industries relocating to Malta has brought to the fore higher salaries and better packages which are unattainable for many local companies with a lower profit margin. This provides today’s candidates with a wealth of selection opportunities from where they can fulfil their career ambitions.
Job Hopping being the norm
With all these opportunities for career growth, it has become immensely difficult for organisations to retain their talent in the face of attractive job offers and opportunities, making job hopping a worthwhile venture.
Lack of interest
Several jobs simply no longer interest Maltese nationals and are being taken by foreigners. This represents difficulties in attracting and hiring candidates, considering that they would be less accessible than Maltese nationals for a Malta based business.
Companies lacking a certain appeal
In such a fast-paced environment, organisations must strive to meet the latest employee trends and demands such as telecommuting and flexible hours. Organisations who fail to adapt to less rigid corporate structures fall short with candidates and are deemed to be as unattractive employers.
Ever-evolving industries are constantly demanding new talent with different skill sets. The rate at which innovation develops may bring with it roles which very few candidates can fill, making it difficult for companies to hire the right talent. This highlights the need to have a more holistic approach in education, with organisations needing to invest more in their staff in order to equip them with the necessary skills.