Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure MT-2022-1/2495 – measures in Malta
|Country||Malta , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 January 2022|
|Context||Restructuring Support Instruments|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Smoothing frictions or reallocation of workers
|Author||Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||23 June 2022 (updated 11 November 2022)|
The European Commission's business and consumer surveys were previously known in Malta as the Monthly Surveys of Employers. These surveys are commissioned by the European Commission and contain questions on a wide range of variables that are useful to monitor cyclical developments in various economic sectors across all the EU Member States.
Salient aspects of these surveys are regularly reported by the Central Bank of Malta in its Quarterly Reviews. Whereas in the past the CBM used to produce its surveys, in 2009 it decided to start using data derived from the European Commission's business surveys. Malta Chamber of Commerce as the EC local partner institute was commissioned to conduct these surveys and the contract for this service has been renewed in 2022.
According to the European Commission, these surveys 'provide essential information for economic surveillance, short-term forecasting and economic research. Moreover, they are used to detect turning points in the economic cycle. These surveys are therefore a key complement to official statistics, which are often available after long delays' (European Commission, March 2016). Further evidence of the effectiveness of these surveys is the fact that they feature regularly in the reports issued by the Central Bank of Malta (CBM). Such surveys are also quoted in the local press, in articles dealing with the performance of the Maltese economy.
While each survey has its specific questions, all surveys deal with business activity in the previous and the following three months. Questions about the firm's future employment prospects can be found across all surveys. Almost all the questions in the surveys are qualitative.
Surveys are conducted monthly among employers in the following areas: manufacturing industry, construction, retail trade, services and financial services. The sample sizes for the different cohorts are as follows: 350 in each of the manufacturing, investment and retail sectors; 610 in the services sector; and 210 in the construction sector. Additional questions are asked every quarter in the surveys in manufacturing, construction, services, and financial services. Also, an investment survey of the manufacturing sector is carried out biannually.
At a macro level, the data gathered through these surveys give a general picture which is taken into account for the country's economic policy forecasts. The identification of gaps and skills in the labour market also provides well informed updates of needs and demands in the labour market. This may subsequently facilitate the creation of training and education courses for the unemployed and for those in employment who are willing to upgrade their skills or are seeking new jobs. In fact, during the formulation of the National Vocational Education and Training Policy (MCAST, 2015), the monthly surveys as quoted by the CBM were viewed as a means to anticipate labour needs. The CBM highlighted the usefulness of these surveys and referred to them as a timely source of information on recent economic developments both locally and in the EU, the CBM added that these surveys are regularly used in conjunctural analysis (e.g., Quarterly Review) and other research purposes.
Policymakers, educators, and employers would value forecasts of employment needs spanning more than three months as they would be more helpful to plan for future human resources needs. Besides, more specific information about skills requirements would also be beneficial in the context of changes in the economy.
Those commissioned with carrying out these surveys point out that the objective of these surveys is to gauge perceptions and expectations of operators in their respective sectors. They also added that these surveys are not meant to substitute official data on the performance of the various sectors. Given the lack of depth of these surveys, one should, therefore, use a cautionary approach when utilising them to formulate new policies.
|Applies to all workers||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
EU (Council, EC, EP)
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||No involvement||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Malta Chamber of Commerce as the European Commission's local partner institute was tasked to conduct these surveys and the contract for this service has been renewed in 2022.
While there is no specific information to how much social partners in general are utilising these monthly surveys. One could safely assume that the data from these surveys provide social partners with insight about both current and possible future trends.
Eurofound (2022), Monthly surveys of employers, measure MT-2022-1/2495 (measures in Malta), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/MT-2022-1_2495.html
30 January 2023
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.