A perfectly apt question since it seems that foreign workers have increased significantly while local workers have decreased considerably. This article seeks to explain the logic behind this phenomenon, delving deeper into this new reality to analyse whether this is this just an illusion or is there actually data to back it up?

The study presented here examines the structural changes in employment between 2011 and 2019. As an aside, it is good to acknowledge, that, the data for 2020 and 2021 was heavily impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic while the data for 2022 has not yet been published. Nonetheless, the analysis we have carried out is still a valuable one as it represents the years in which Malta experienced the biggest change in its workforce.

In 2011, there were 140,781 Maltese individuals employed on a full time basis and 26,040 Maltese individuals employed on a parttime basis. This meanes that there were a total of 153,801 Maltese workers in terms of full time equivalents.

In 2019, there were 170,699 and 26,028 Maltese individuals employed on a full-time basis and part time basis, respectively, an equivalent of 183,713 Maltese workers in full time employment.

This denotes that between 2011 and 2019, the Maltese workforce increased by 29,912 or 19.4%.

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During the same period, in 2011 there were a total of 11,208 foreign workers in terms of full-time equivalents. These increased by 465% till 2019 and amounted to 63,329 in terms of full-time equivalents. This meanes that in 2011 less than 7% of the workforce was composed of foreign workers, however in 2019, this figure shot up to almost 26% resulting in over one quarter of the workforce being composed of foreign workers.

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However, although the above data clearly backs the notion that the foreign workers have increased significantly, it still does not answer the question as to what jobs the Maltese are carrying out, because in actual fact, the total number of Maltese workers in the workforce has increased. To answer this question, we need to delve a bit deeper and analyse each sector individually.

The Graph below (red bars) shows the changes in Maltese workers per sector between 2011 and 2019. As it is evident, 3 sectors experienced a decline in Maltese workers while another 5 experienced a slight increase of less than five thousand workers. The other two sectors account for the main increase in Maltese workers. In fact, out of the 29,912 increase in Maltese workers, 24,776 (83%) form part of two sectors. These two sectors include, Professional, scientific, technical, administration and support service activities and Public administration, defence; education; human health and social work activities.

The study indicates, that, in fact, Maltese workers have increased in nearly all sectors, so why do many keep asking “What jobs are the Maltese undertaking?”. The primary reason is that most sectors have experienced a far greater increase in foreign workers when compared to Maltese workers. The second reason is that Maltese workers have moved from visible jobs, such as waiters in restaurants to less visible jobs as for example office work. This is the main reason why the public feels a decline in Maltese workers is because there is no direct contact with them, since they have moved to another employment spectrum which is not encountered daily.

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Analysis by Kurt Muscat, Senior Executive, EMCS                                                     Data and statistics as published by Jobsplus.