Malta at a Glance
Working Conditions in Malta
As Malta’s economy remains a haven of stability in Southern Europe (the gross domestic product grew by 1.6% in 2011), there will also be new employment opportunities. We have outlined the most important fields of employment on the previous page of our guide to working in Malta.
In addition to high-end manufacturing, finance, commerce, and tourism, the IT/CT sector may be of interest to overseas job-seekers. Smart City Malta, a regional hub for software engineering, e-business, and iGaming, is currently under development.
The Maltese Labor Market
If you are looking for a job outside an intra-company transfer or foreign assignment, you should be aware that Malta’s labor market is rather small – the entire workforce consists of 180,000 people – and has certain employment restriction for overseas applicants. The public sector (which employs a small, but significant percentage of the labor force) is largely off limits because most candidates are required to speak Maltese. So, unless you happen to work in a sought-after occupation or stumble upon the specialist position to match your qualifications, lots of vacancies are found, for instance, in business services or call centers.
But don’t let this discourage you! Finding work in Malta from abroad simply requires a bit of patience. If you want a well-paid, challenging position, you probably shouldn’t just travel there on a tourist visa and hope to find the perfect job within three months. That strategy is only recommended if you are not in it for the work, but purely for Malta’s charms and the local lifestyle.
The following resources come in handy for job-seekers:
Salaries in Malta
To the disappointment of some expats, salaries in Malta are lower than in many other European countries. According to different sources, the average Maltese employee earns either € 15,000 or up to €21,000 per year. A 2012 survey by the National Statistics Office stated an average gross wage of roughly €1,300, which is closer to an annual income of 15K.
Salaries may be higher for very specialized jobs, management positions, and foreign assignments, though. And even if the local cost of living is no longer as low as it used to be, Malta remains a comparatively affordable place. In 2010, the annual cost of living was noticeably below the EU average, though it has been on the rise ever since.
Still, it is probably safe to say that you shouldn’t be in it only for the money. If you are dreaming of a highly lucrative job with lots of perks and a huge career boost, Malta might not be the right place for you.
Working Hours and Annual Leave
The working week in Malta has 40 hours on the average, and 48 hours are the legal maximum. (The eight additional hours have to be paid for in overtime compensation.) Daily office hours in the private sector are usually between 8:00 or 8:30 am and 5:00 or 5:30 pm. It’s slightly different in public sector offices, where many employees only work half days during the summer months. This doesn’t apply to most expats, though.
While working in Malta, you are legally entitled to 24 days of annual leave. You also get a day off from work on every public holiday that does not fall on a Saturday or Sunday. Since Malta has 14 public holidays altogether, you might thus benefit from a slew of additional leisure time.
The atmosphere in Maltese companies is often very warm and welcoming. Due to the islands’ tiny size, Malta’s business-world is fairly tight-knit. This has both its advantages and some downsides. Your new employer and co-workers may quickly come to regard you as “part of the family”. This will make it easy to settle in your new life.
However, in case you don’t like the job or simply happen to find a better employment opportunity, your decision to leave the company may be taken more personally than elsewhere. And since the labor force is rather small, chances are that your old boss actually knows your future employer. The very personal atmosphere in the workplace – for good or for ill – is something that many expats have to get used to.