The highest demand for jobs in the next three years will be for clerical support workers and service/sales workers followed by professionals and trade workers, according to a National Employee Skills Survey for the EU's Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe.
The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE), Jobsplus (the former ETC)) and Malta Enterprise, conducted the research during the first quarter of 2016 among a representative sample of employers as part of the Erasmus+ project. It identified skills shortages and provided insights into the Maltese labour market.
Angelique Dibben and Mario Cardona reported that around 40% of employers declared that they had recruited staff without work experience in the previous three years, most of whom had completed their studies in further or higher education. Around 50% of employers had recruited foreigners in the previous three years.
The commonest sources used for recruitment were by word of mouth (20.9%), by notification through Jobsplus (19.9%), and through social media (15.8%).
Vacancies were mostly available for clerical support workers and professionals. Clerical support workers and service/sales workers were recorded as hard-to-fill vacancies. Vacancies for craft and related trade workers, professionals, technicians and service/sales workers took longest to fill.
The main reasons given to explain this shortfall included a lack of applicants with the required skills (56.2%), a lack of applicants with the required attitude or personality (43.7%) and a low number of applicants (37.7%).
Written communication, technical skills, problem-solving and team-working resulted as the commonest skills that prospective applicants lacked for hard-to-fill vacancies. These were also the skills that employers considered to be the most pertinent.
34% of employers stated that more than half of their employees held qualifications up to MQF level 4. In comparison, 13% and 16% of companies stated that more than half of their staff attained MQF level 5 and MQF level 6 respectively. Respondents reported that 6% of their employees were overqualified whilst 8% were not fully proficient.
Overqualified personnel were mostly amongst professionals and clerical support workers whilst not fully proficient workers were technicians and associate professionals or in elementary occupations. Up-skilling appeared to be needed mostly in planning and organisation, customer handling, team-working and multitasking.
Around 40% of employers provided on-the-job training whilst around 35% provided off-the-job training. Training was mostly job-specific, while 40.5% of it was not accredited. Three-quarters of employers did not allocate any funds for training.
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