“Forty years’ work in opinion research, in people training, recruitment consultancy, HR and business advisory across most economic sectors and across all strata of society, have given Misco the privilege of a close insight into the evolution of Malta’s society,” said Lawrence Zammit, founder and director of Misco during an event to commemorate its 40th anniversary.

“Indeed, Malta has changed a lot over these past 40 years. In 2008, for example, Misco had conducted a public survey to find out what the Maltese population considers as life’s priorities,” Zammit continued.

“Looking back, it is fascinating to see how in 2008, 71% of the Maltese considered work as very important in their life, religion was very important for 58% and 48% considered leisure time being very important.

“In 2023, a similar survey found out how the tide has turned where a staggering 82% consider leisure time as being very important in their life. Work remains very important for 78%, while only 54% consider religion as being very important.”

Another of Misco’s research related to Malta’s accession to the European Union.

“I recall how Misco had been spot on in predicting a 53% vote in favour of EU accession and today, 76% believe that Mata does not have a better future outside the EU,” he added.

Born out of Malta’s recession in the early 1980s and founded in 1983, Misco went on to establish itself as the country’s foremost knowledge-based independent consulting firm. Today, the  company conducts over 30,000 interviews every year.

We always sought to anticipate clients’ expectations

Addressing clients and business partners, Zammit spoke of Misco’s major milestones over the past 40 years which helped establish the firm as a pioneer in the sector.

“We always sought to anticipate clients’ expectations and one such example was our first Salaries and Benefits Report published in 1985. It had to be some 25 years later that others followed with similar products. We sought to continue defining ourselves by our ethical approach as we bring insight through services grounded in good practice, based on informed knowledge and expertise that contribute to our clients’ business growth,” Zammit said.

He explained how Misco’s work in marketing and opinion research, people training, recruitment, HR and business advisory across most economic sectors was a source of close insight into the evolution of Malta’s society.

In line with this, during the event, Zammit shared a comparative presentation with key findings from past research and more recent studies spanning various topics.

Zammit noted how in 2014, Misco conducted a survey to understand what people retained as their main source for news.

“Back then, for 81% of the population, television was the main source of news followed by information websites and radio (34%), social networks (24%) and the written press (23%). Today, in 2023, 56% get their news from social networks and information websites (55%), only 45% from television, 22% from radio and a meagre 11% from newspapers. An additional 8% seek news from blogs,” he said.

Surveying behavioural trends in Maltese society have always helped us understand our local context better, Zammit explained.

“Different surveys across the years for example, helped us see how today, 69% exercise or play sport compared to 45% who did so 30 years ago; that nowadays 10% have an interest in some form of cultural activity; that over a period of 15 years, participation in a voluntary organisation decreased from 22% to 19%; that today 75% shop online, not much change over a five- year period, and that today, 29% use retail apps compared to the 22% who did so in 2018.”

Misco also had many opportunities to explore the delicate subject of mental health at the workplace through various research studies, especially over the past three years with the onset of the coronavirus.

“Today we know that whereas in 2020, 67% experienced mental health problems at work, today 77% do so, which is a sharp increase. And while 62% do not dedicate time to unwind from work, 73% do not see the need for it hoping that whatever the issues, these would be resolved by themselves.”

Other important findings presented during Misco’s 40th anniversary event noted how:

• 71% of organisations prefer to employ ready trained and technically skilled individuals, as opposed to the 29% of organisations who prefer to train employees themselves;

• 90% of employers prefer employing employees that already have the soft skills needed for the job compared to the 10% of employers who prefer to train employees themselves.

• The most in-demand skills today are verbal communication skills, decision making skills, teamworking skills, customer care skills and inter-personal skills.

• The top five skills that employers find most lacking in staff are decision-making skills, working towards priorities, strong work ethic, time management/self-organisation and enthusiasm.

“We aim to keep leading the market through insight, knowledge and expertise while bringing more value to our clients and Maltese society at large,” Zammit concluded.

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