Joanne Bondin / MEA

Joanne Bondin, President of the Malta Employers’ Association (MEA) has recently highlighted the need for economic objectives to be designed in a way that also supports employee well-being indicators, amid a growing focus on this aspect in the workplace.

She was speaking during the MEA’s 59th Annual General Meeting, during which she remarked that there must be an economic transformation that focuses on moving people into employment positions which are of higher value-added. Ms Bondin stated that this must be done in a way that the overall increase in national productivity will also sustain improved working conditions for the unskilled segment of the labour force.

Local businesses have been struggling with a tight labour market for a couple of years, particularly a result of talent shortages. This has prompted many organisations to increase salary packages, offer more benefits, and also go to great lengths to offer their employees flexibility, all with the aim of improving employee retention and well-being.

Employee well-being has been the talk of the business world over the past few years, as employees seek workplaces where they are valued and respect, in ways that recognise their work, while also providing them with added flexibility. This rose to further prominence following the COVID-19 pandemic, with well-being initiatives such as mindfulness apps, resilience training, stress management, and other offerings also becoming popular among employers.

During the meeting, Ms Bondin remarked that there needs to be a channelling of human resources in areas where there are “numerous opportunities for rewarding careers.” Ms Bondin pointed out that one such area is the maritime sector, “which should be obvious for an island nation like ours.”

Ms Bondin said that the MEA believes that given the prevailing demographic trends, such economic transformation will prove to be “critical” to Malta’s social and economic development.

“Our policymakers need to adopt a long-term perspective to analyse how such trends will transform our society,” she affirmed, while referring to when the MEA held a conference in the Parliament Building last July for an open discussion about Malta’s fertility rate. During that event, the MEA involved different social partners and stakeholders, including members from both sides of the political divide, the Church, and youth organisations.

Ms Bondin highlighted that as the representative of employers, the MEA aims to “do its part in provoking intelligent debate on wider societal issues.” She noted that this comes amid an increasing realisation that achieving sustainable economic growth is not possible and undesirable without a consideration for well-being. “Failing this would be betraying the whole scope of enterprise,” she added.

“For Malta, this could mean a brain drain of precious resources who will seek a better quality of life elsewhere. Therefore, economic objectives need to be designed in tandem with well-being indicators, amongst them respect for the natural environment,” she concluded.

Featured Image:

MEA President Joanne Bondin / MEA

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