Joanne Bondin

In light of the current “employment challenges which are now raising concerns about business continuity,” MEA President Joanne Bondin spoke of the 13 concrete solutions put forward by the association to address the current skills shortages affecting Maltese businesses.

She was speaking at the SME National Forum 2022 held on 17th November and entitled “Ensuring the Skills for Future Competitiveness.”

Ms Bondin explained how “we are currently experiencing a lack of human resources across the board. It is a constant challenge for employers to find employees with the right skills and qualifications, to the extent that it is raising concerns about business continuity and competitiveness.” 

“To overcome this serious predicament, we need to focus on becoming more efficient and innovative in our business models and operations while addressing the social and economic needs of our country,” she added.

In this regard, the MEA will be producing a report featuring Thursday’s event and the entire consultation process to be presented to the authorities in its efforts to ensure that its recommendations are translated into action.

In a recent survey conducted by the MEA, 53 per cent of respondents claimed that the current situation was exerting a significant impact on their business including serious disruption on their operations and stretched out resources. 

A further 12 per cent responded that the impact on their business was “severe” to the extent that business continuity was severely at risk. Workers’ new priorities in favour of flexible work arrangements, particularly post-pandemic, further exacerbate the challenge ahead for employers.

The MEA’s 13 recommendations emerged from extensive research, focus groups and consultation with a wide array of economic stakeholders, including industry leaders, entrepreneurs and officials from government authorities and agencies.

The SME National Forum 2022 served to debate the recommendations with a view to strengthen the MEA’s call for action. These include a call for capitalising on digital skills, investing in training and mentorship, a better connection between academia and industry, the prioritisation of risk assessment and the strengthening of good governance among others.

Many stakeholders addressing the Forum highlighted the 13 recommendations put forward by the MEA and called on the authorities to implement the recommendations as soon as practically possible to ensure the smooth functioning of the labour market now and in the years to come. In view of this positive feedback, in closing the event, Ms Bondin called on all stakeholders to undertake a concerted national effort and use the MEA as a facilitator to take forward these recommendations.

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