Frank V. Farrugia

Frank V. Farrugia is the President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Taking Our Concerns To Cabinet

Thursday 24th May 2018

Members in all the three of our economic groups are presently united in facing a common challenge – the lack of human resources with adequate skills. 

This shortage has been observed for several months as employers have fallen victim to an unprecedented situation of consecutive year-on-year growth which they themselves have generated.

Earlier this year, the Chamber took the initiative to formulate a report with its internal resources.  The report takes stock of the situation by presenting a holistic view of labour market realities in Malta and the demographics at play. 

As much as Maltese workers remain the preferred source for staff recruitment, the studies undertaken confirm that we are unable to depend on home-grown resources to meet the demands of the economy. 

The report therefore proceeds to present policy makers with a blue print of effective policies designed to ensure that the most fundamental resource required for continued and sustainable economic growth is readily available and well-equipped with the many diverse skill-sets that are of fundamental importance to Malta’s economy and competitiveness.

In the face of this critical situation that is hampering further expansion in several buoyant sectors, I recently presented a copy of our report to the Prime Minister who in turn invited us to deliver a presentation on the study to the Cabinet.  

The origins of this problem are various as are the Ministers and Government entities whose efforts and co-operation are required to rectify the situation to the benefit of our employers.  Nevertheless, the Chamber is not merely expecting the Government to solve this matter single-handedly.

In fact, while most proposals are targeted at the Government and relevant authorities, the Chamber also recognises the role both it, and the private sector it represents, may play in overcoming this challenge of unprecedented scale. To this end, the Chamber may certainly play a role in:

  • Contributing to the modernisation of career guidance through coordination of company visits for students, teachers and career guidance counsellors;
  • Collaborating with the National Skills Council to ensure a constant 2-way communication with industry;
  • Contributing to the proliferation of work-based learning in Malta, through the drafting of a comprehensive strategy and assisting with implementation;
  • Organising and participating in career days for students, for workers looking to shift/further their careers and for active agers;
  • Exploring the feasibility of a potential Public-Private Partnership to provide affordable accommodation for foreign workers; and

Our Chamber thanks the Prime Minister and his Cabinet for their receptivity to our proposals and we remain committed towards achieving political and stakeholder consensus required to implement the necessary reforms for solving the current limiting conditions to growth.  In conclusion, I commend our team at the Chamber for proactively preparing this professional report for the benefit of our members, and all of the Maltese economy.