21 27 March 2001
Malta's workforce analysed
The National Statistics Office, formerly the Central Office of Statistics, had carried out the first Labour Force Survey last June, while the second leg of the survey was conducted in the following December.
The surveys are aimed at individuals and were predominantly designed to gather information on the labour market and related issues by means of personal interviews.
While the results from the first and second labour force survey are currently being analysed and official results from the two surveys will be released together in the coming months, some preliminary results from the first survey follow.
Full-time employment gender issues
Between May 1999 and May 2000, the mean salary for full-time employees stood at Lm4,739 per year. However, it was found that males were paid an average of Lm4,983 per year, while females were paid an average of Lm4,196 per year.
In other words, it appears that, on average, males in full-time employment are paid some Lm787 more per year. Tests showed that the differences between the average salary for all employees and the average salaries for male and female full-time employees were statistically significant.
Accordingly, it could be concluded that gender affects the mean salary of full-time employees and that the average salary for full-time male employees is higher.
Table 1 shows the average annual salary for full-time employees by sex and broad occupational categories.
The study has found that male employees, on average, are earning higher salaries than female employees within the same broad occupational categories.
For example, while the average salary for males in the legislators, senior officials and managers occupational group was Lm7,832, the average salary for females in the same occupational category stood significantly lower at Lm5,864.
However, this trend seems consistent across different occupational groups. This can, in part be, explained by various factors including the fact that women, on average, might be paid less than their male counterparts for carrying out the same job.
Another explanation concerns the fact that more males than females are occupying higher positions within individual occupational groups. Higher positions within the same occupation usually carry higher salaries and thus, when one divides the total amount of salaries paid by the number of full-time males or females within individual occupational groups, the average salary for males might be higher than that of females.
The fact that more men are occupying higher positions might be attributable to several factors including cultural bias in favour of men and certain biological factors.
It is a well known fact that, when women become pregnant, some do not return to employment and those who do might return only after a marked period of time has elapsed. In the meantime their male colleagues would probably have progressed in their careers.
In turn, the salary difference between males and females would have increased and this can, only in part, explain why the average salary for full-time males is higher than the average salary for full-time females.
Table 2 shows that the proportion of males in the full-time employee population is 71.9 per cent whilst females account for the other 28.1 per cent. The table also clearly indicates that the actual proportions of males and females within individual occupational categories varies substantially from the population proportions, hence implying a relationship between occupation and gender.
A deeper analysis shows that some occupations are more male dominated' than others. Males tend to predominate in the legislators, senior officials and managers, craft and related trades and elementary occupations. On the other hand, females are found to be occupying more professional, clerical, and plant and machine operators and assembly positions.
Chart 1 depicts the percentage distribution of male and female full-time employees. The dark line indicates the expected percentage for male full-timers, 71.9 per cent, whilst the light line below shows the expected percentage for female full-timers, 28.1 per cent. The chart shows that only one occupational category, technicians and associate professionals, follows the same distribution as the full-time employee population. Only the professional category seems to be female dominated and this can be explained, to some extent, by the large number of female teachers as a proportion of the total teacher population.
Regional distribution of occupation
The hypothesis that the occupational category of people in employment and locality are independent of each other was tested by the NOS and a cross tabulation showing the number of people in individual occupational categories in different districts was produced.
If the hypothesis were true, then one would have expected to find the same proportion of each occupation across all of Malta's districts. For example, clerks consisted of 12.8 per cent of the total number of people in employment. If locality and occupation were truly independent, then one would expect to find the same 12.8 per cent employed as clerks across all districts.
However, when the expected count was produced, which showed the expected number of people in employment in particular occupations one would have expected to find in individual districts had the proportion of individual occupations as a proportion of the total been the same across all districts, was carried out, the number of legislators, senior officials and managers varied substantially from the number expected.
To substantiate the finding, further testing was conducted and, from its results, it could be concluded that it appears that certain people who work in certain occupations tend to reside more, proportionally speaking, in certain areas of the Maltese Islands.
Table 3 shows that it emerges that in the South Harbour district, one finds a higher proportion of people employed as craft and related trades workers and plant and machine operators and assemblers when compared with national findings.
On the other hand, the proportion of clerks is less than that of the national proportion. The highest proportion of professionals, as a proportion of the number of people in employment residing within a particular district, is found in the North district.