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Work Culture and Labour Market for Expats in Malta

Submitted: November 2013

Work Culture

Work cultures differ from employer to employer. Nevertheless, there are certain characteristics that generally apply to all Maltese professional environments. Overall, general business hours tend to be between 8:30 and 5:30, though willingness to work long hours is appreciated. Teamwork plays an important role, yet initiative and personal accountability are also highly valued. The work atmosphere tends to be rather relaxed and the communication style among co-workers polite yet direct. Roles are usually clearly defined.

Furthermore, in Maltese professional circles punctuality is key! Make sure to arrive to business meetings on time or a few minutes early and stick to agreed deadlines. If you notice you might be running late, make an advance phone call to inform your business partners or colleagues and apologise. When arranging meetings, it is also a good idea to do so several weeks in advance and confirm the meeting a day or two before the scheduled date.

In meetings, it is customary to shake hands both at the beginning and at the end of the meeting. When meeting for the first time, you would normally address your counterpart with Mr/Mrs and last name. It is also common to exchange business cards at the beginning of the meeting and engage in small talk. Although both Maltese and English are official languages in Malta, in English tends to be the dominant language in business circles.

The overall tone of discussions tends to be diplomatic. Even disagreements are communicated in a calm and polite manner. It is considered rude to interrupt your counterpart while speaking. Note also, that it might take a while before agreements are reached, as it is common to engage in lengthy negotiations.

In general, the dress code is rather conservative in business circles, with business suits for both men and women being the norm. However, in the summer, suit jackets are often left at home. To read about business networking in Malta see Business Groups, Associations and Networking.

 

Labour Market

According to Eurostat, Malta’s unemployment rate stood at 6.4% in October 2013 which is the fourth lowest unemployment rate in Europe. At the same time, Malta has the third lowest youth unemployment rate, with 13.2% unemployed. Another positive sign is that the economy is showing signs of growth. This is good news for expat job seekers in Malta!
Generally, most jobs are found in the third sector, in particular in tourism, logistics, IT and communications, and real estate. Furthermore, Malta has also become an important international financial centre. For information on finding employment in Malta see Finding a Job, CVs, Interviews and Etiquette for Expats in Malta.

The Maltese economy is in considerably better shape than those of nearby larger Southern European countries. The Maltese GDP has generally shown modest growth since 2009, and was at 1.7% for the last quarter. Unemployment in Malta is at approximately 6.5%, which is lower than the world average and considerably lower than the EU average. Important employment sectors include commerce and trade, especially at the Freeport; financial services; construction; and manufacturing (chiefly of toys and electronic components). In addition, Malta has recently become an important centre for internet gaming and software engineering. This is focused on a purpose-built suburb called Smart City, which is to the east of Valletta. For English speakers, translation and English language teaching positions may also be available. These jobs are mostly seasonal.

For more information on immigration procedures and working conditions in Malta, see Working for Expats.

 

 

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