Malta a leading brain business centre of Southern Europe, report claims

A report on the geography of Europe’s brain business jobs says Malta is moving towards a position as a new Singapore of the Mediterranean but issues stark warning on talent shortage


The number of employees at the most knowledge-intensive firms in Malta has grown from 14,600 in 2012 to 18,200 in 2019, a report by the European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform published today illustrates.

Out of the 3,600 new so-called brain business jobs, 62% have been created in ICT, 23% in advanced services, 12% in the tech sector and the remaining three percent in creative professions.

The report - The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs: 2020 Index by Dr Nima Sanandaji - describes Malta as a leading brain business centre of Southern Europe, with a share of knowledge-intensive occupation even higher than that of France.

“The island nation continues to benefit from business-friendly policy regimes, moving towards a position as a new Singapore of the Mediterranean region,” the report says. “Talent shortage is, however, becoming a major concern.”

In fact, while the growth of brain business jobs has been strong in Malta over time, the two past years have seen slower growth. Instead, countries such as Cyprus and Portugal, which compete by lower wage costs, have surged.

Compared to the rest of Europe, Malta has a number of strengths, primarily in advertising and market research, pharmaceuticals and film/TV/music as well as head offices and management.

In these areas, as well as in telecom and programming, Malta has a higher share of knowledge-intensive firm occupation than the European average.

On the other hand, Malta still has a way to go to catch up with the rest of Europe when it comes to areas such as high-tech manufacturing and R&D )Research and Development).

The challenge ahead for Malta is to sustain its impressive development, encouraging more brain business jobs in areas where it is already strong and in new domains such as research and development.

“Talent shortage needs to be addressed for Malta to continue evolving as a Southern European knowledge hub,” the report concludes.

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