Jobs in Malta: expat insider tips

 
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Jobs there are in Malta for expat job-seekers. But what of their quality, career prospects and salaries and how to present yourself to get them? Following up our advice article by a recruitment firm, we now give an expat job seeker’s view of the employment market in Malta. Our insider arrived last autumn with a strong CV in hand after having worked in cultural management in Europe and farther afield. Sector aside, we think the insights here are applicable to more fields and useful pointers for anyone with some experience up their sleeve looking for employment that is more than entry level. Do add your comments below so we can gauge if this is in tune with the realities of Malta’s job scene.

How much did you know of the job market in Malta before arriving and did it meet or differ from your expectations when you got down to serious job hunting?

All I knew beforehand was that with Malta an EU state, I wouldn’t need a work permit or visa to work here as an EU national. Apart from that, I knew very little about the job situation here.  As I never had a real problem finding a job elsewhere, I felt confident (or should I say, I hoped) I would find a similar situation in Malta.

I have to admit that the job hunting in Malta took longer than I expected. I knew the the economic crisis was quite severe in Europe but also read that Malta was in a better situation compared with Greece, Spain or Ireland for example. In reality, it took me a month and a half to find a job in Malta.

Perhaps that’s not unusual, but it was slightly longer than any job hunting I’d been through before. I think it took that time because of some misunderstandings I faced along the way.  Quite a few times, I was told that people would get back to me with further details about potential collaboration but then I never heard from them. This made the job hunting a little more difficult to deal with.

What resources did you use to job hunt?

I mainly used the Internet and read newspapers to have a feeling for what was going on, who was active, which firms were communicating and so on.  ETC (the government-run Employment & Training Commission) was not much of a resource for my field.

Did you feel the market was sophisticated enough to meet your personal expectations for career and salary ?

If you are looking for a job in the i-gaming sector, then Malta would probably be a great place. From my own experience, Malta being such a small island with such an artistic potential, great projects are numerous. When it comes to make a living out of it, however, things are far harder. The market is small and working opportunities  in the arts are lacking. Salaries are low compared to Northern Europe and cost of living not as cheap as it used to be. The great lifestyle  does compensate for the lack of professional opportunities.

How flexible did you need to be in your search?

As a traveler, one needs to be flexible. It is not unusual to start from scratch even with a long CV. I feel I was lucky to find a job which met my professional and personal interests. But again, being a complete stranger in Malta, starting a new job definitely means one would have to accept starting out all over again.

Was Maltese a sticking point?

Not being able to speak the local language is definitely a disadvantage. However, overall, I did not feel it was such a big problem.

Was there a ‘cultural’ learning curve to go through? Working in Malta not being the same as holidaying here.

Mainly I felt that somehow people do not trust you because you have experience in your field. As a close-knit place, people tend to know people on the island, so arriving as a newcomer, without recommendations, one has to face a first step of getting to know the new world around and gain trust, at a somewhat slow pace.

Also, social behaviour can be different from that of other European countries. Malta can be quite traditional and conservative in certain areas, although I feel that ambition, innovation and imagination are also here and playing a far larger role in the dynamics of the islands.

Some employers might shy away from employing foreigners as they feel that they might leave the islands sooner rather than later. Was this an issue that came up in your job interviews? 

This is true but not specific to Malta. Most employers would consider this and they would be right to point it out. However, I felt most people in Malta would not really understand why one would be leaving the island. It was raised during my own interviews. In other countries, employers would be looking for experienced worker to serve a specific goal in their companies. In Malta, I felt it was more of a commitment to join a team, sort of a ‘new-family’ feeling that was expected.

What overall advice would you give would-be expats looking for work in Malta?

I would personally recommend people to come and live in Malta. The island is beautiful and summers very promising. For Irish/Spanish/Greek citizens it can also be a get-away from a very difficult economic situation. As for other countries, one should come understanding that Malta is not operating on the same level of expectations. You live and work in Malta because you enjoy the lifestyle, your job, your friends; not to save money, nor to expect an ascendant curve in your career!

Photo: courtesy of Sebastian de Gange

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31 Comments about “Jobs in Malta: expat insider tips”

  1. Very interesting article and advice. Thanks for posting.

     
  2. Martin,
    Thanks for commenting. My thoughts too. The bit about employers seeing the new recruit as joining a ‘family’ is all too true. The ramifications of this attitude don’t really become apparent until one wishes to move to another job – for better pay, conditions, career etc. Then, one can find the employer taking a rather ‘if you aren’t with us, you’re against us’ attitude. The leaving the family fold doesn’t go down too well, and I’ve had several expats mention this to me in past years. It would be helpful if employers would just see a job as being filled for commercial, not personal reasons. Also, of course, in a small place, one can find the new employer knowing the old one very well, which doesn’t help a prospective move.

     
  3. My former company was looking for a Maltese speaking, well experienced (at least three years) agent with own car. Neither do I speak Maltese nor do I have a car and “experience” comes from a similar working sector. But I got the job anyway and was treated more like an intern than a worker. So it is true, regarding Maltas background of occupation the Maltese do not really appreciate influences from the outside. The best man can do is listening (“Isma!”) and showing respect whenever someone is telling/ trying to teach you something, even when you already might know it.
    My former senior executive told me he was trained in London but more then once I saw customers and clients feeling very uncomfortable with his way of treating them. As a newbie and expat, I decided not to be in the right position to criticise him and rather leave the company. I faced what Elisabeth mentioned, everybody knows everybody and switching from one company to another in the same sector can be a very bad idea.

    To the Maltese market in general: do not expect to find an interesting and well payed job. Mostly, you will find yourself as an email or phone supporter for an online betting company. Expect to stay six days a week in your office. Expect disappointment when receiving your salary. Don’t expect to be awaited with open arms.

     
  4. im very happy for these information i got here, im right now planning to go over to malta for a job although im not an EU citizen but i have permit of stay & work in one of the EU countries, can it be posible ? or do i need visa before im allow to travel there?

     
  5. What are the typical taxes on Malta?

    Better or worse than the EU or US?

    Thanks for any information.

     
  6. Susan,
    It will be lower, for sure, than the US and most other EU countries. It’s a big reason why expats move here! These online resources are up to date and useful and will help explain the thresholds. It really depends if you are living here but deriving income worldwide – then things can be very advantageous. There is a chance to benefit from a flat 15% rate. Check these two law firms info out:

    http://www.fff-legal.com/practice-areas/tax-consultancy/taxation-of-individuals.html
    http://www.ccmalta.com/CCPortal/files/7b/7b3b55a2-7dc9-4f77-a0dc-3c52c4171d2b.pdf

     
  7. i have permit to stay in italy and i want to come to malta to search for work can it be possible for me to get a job there . am into building ( bricklayer )

     
  8. If you have permission to live and work in Italy, under EU rules, and as Malta and Italy and in the Schengen group of EU countries, you should be entitled to live and work in Malta. I suggest you take a look at the government portal on expat affairs: http://www.foreign.gov.mt/default.aspx?MDIS=552

    I am not sure you’ll have a quick reply though as the department is working through a backlog of e-ID cards for expats living here. But if you take a good look at that page you will see the various forms required for EU and non-EU persons wishing to live in Malta – various residency status forms.

     
  9. Hi im a 39 year old woman who was made redundant from my office manager admin job London a year ago. I am moving to Malta in July. What are my chances of finding employment? I worked in my last job for 10 years and have good references. Also does anyone know the kind of salary I should expect for such a job?

     
  10. Hi Amanda,
    I think you will find work, given your track record. I would reckon a salary here of half to 2/3rds your UK one, and I’d say, average UK not London waiting type of salary. You might wish to contact the recruitment firm Muovo.eu, who we partner (see banner top of site pages). Francesca will be able to answer your queries and give you a heads up on the salary levels more accurately than I can. Good luck!

     
  11. Hi,

    I am looking for a job in the e-gaming industry and I would like to know if there exists a list or whatever whit all the names of betting companies in Malta. I would appreciate to be answered to my email so that I can save it.
    Thank you all!!!

    Alberto

     
  12. Alberto,
    We replied to a comment either yours, or very similar from someone else recently, about where to find gaming companies details. At Malta Inside Out, we run on a voluntary basis and we can’t keep up with everyone’s specific queries (and we do receive a lot each week!), though we do try to reply asap we can. You can also post queries on our Facebook wall for our community to help with. The Malta Lotteries & Gaming Authority has details of all i-gaming companies registered in Malta. If you are looking for a job in the industry, then there are lots and lots of recruitment firms dealing with those – bettingjobs.com etc etc. Some are international, others more locally focused; again, a google search will produce a list of most you need.

     
  13. Hello,
    I am wondering about possible work in the television industry in Malta. I have roughly 15 years experience and if I moved to Malta what is the odds that I would find a job in this type of sector? I don’t speak Maltese either… sorry!
    Or is starting up my own company an easier task?

    Thank you in advance.
    Tait

     
  14. Tait,
    Obviously, given Malta’s size, there is not much of a TV industry to speak of. Public broadcasting (PBS) runs in the Maltese language, with the odd external syndicated programme in English. It does commission outside outfits to produce series etc. There are private sector AV industry crews – like Studio 7 – which take on commercials, corporate films etc. And a good many other small outfits operating in the ICT-AV industry. You might like to drill down the yellow pages or directory of Go.com.mt to see what companies are here, and contact a few to get a heads up on the buoyancy of the market. It seems thriving and there are some very entrepreneurial types here creating amazing work – see also Ren Spiteri of RedWhite MT. I think a reccy trip, speak to some people in the industry etc and you’ll no doubt find something you can be employed at, but don’t expect high pay. It really depends on your current career ambitions balanced against other reasons for wanting to move to Malta.

     
  15. Hi Elizabeth,
    My partner and have been thinking about emigrating for a while now and have decided to start saving, downscalling possessions and make the move and hopefully to Malta in September 2014. I am 42 and have been a CEO of a charity and restaurant business for nearly 10 years, have an education degree, diploma in youth work and HNC management. As well as this I sing, act and direct theatre professionally. My partner is 26 and has admin, HR and retail experience. We are both concerned about the higher costs for expats (utilities etc) and low wages. PLEASE ADVISE THANKS. Also I would prefer to work in entertainment and maybe offer self contained music shows for hotels etc or direct entertainment programmes (is this a possibility) or is my other experience more likely?? Also, what are the likelyhood of work for my partner?? Finally, sorry about the 20 questions…is there a forum we should join or someway of making connections so we can come over in winter time and check a few things out? Kindest Regards and well done on the site. Dave

     
  16. David,
    First up, a quick reply to your queries. I have no doubt you’d find work relating to your career, but I’d probably advise just making a bit extra on the side when it comes to the entertainment part of your skill set. You’d find hotels willing to take a show, and winter months here see a lot of older tourists on packages which include scheduled entertainment each night. Admin, HR and retail are also areas buoyant so your partner should find employment. As you say, wages are lower, but then housing can be.

    If you are working here, get your e-ID residency cards sorted etc, then you should be able to sort the utilities bills to show you are residents. We all pay far higher utility bills here in Malta than most folk across Europe, whether nationals or temporary residents! That’s a fact of living on Islands with no natural resources and where fuel is imported and water is desalinated. Assume lower rental costs though with large flats, 3-bedroomed, at great rental prices especially if you show you are longer term residents. With a combo of Lidl style supermarket food shopping and fresh produce from the farmers’ markets, your food bills can be quite low. Other expenses are lifestyle ones, so it would depend on how much you go out and eat, and how often you may need to fly out of Malta. Reckon on at least two trips out a year, but with Ryan Air flying more and more destinations from Malta, you can manage that too. Cars are expensive here, but importing them is probably not wise. I suggest getting a small run-around (Toyota hatchback etc) which will be economical and small to park in our crowded streets. BTW, parking space / garages with rental accommodation comes at a premium!

    I advise you to contact recruitment firms here, wing your CVs and see what kind of openings are around. Then, try a reccy trip here in the autumn or early spring to follow up and suss out housing. There is employment here and you should make ends meet depending on your expectations. Malta has however, with the increase in expats moving here, gone up in prices all round in the past years. It’s not a cheap deal like Spain, but then again, we don’t have the economic woes of other Med countries. Good luck! If you need more help, just ask.

     
  17. Thanks for the speedy reply Elizabeth, very helpful advice and we will get our CV’s sorted out and see what the uptake is.

    Kindest Regards
    David

     
  18. Hello,
    My partner and me are moving to Malta in January 2014.
    His senior management role is moving with him and this naturally leaves me wondering what to follow for my career.

    I will be leaving my role as a senior manager for a charity supporting people with drug and alcohol additions covering London. I’m aware that Malta has a significant problem with drug misuse and there are state delivered support services. I’m also qualified as a counsellor and would consider starting a private practice again but I’m not sure about the legislation or legal requirements for this work?

    Finally, in an earlier post you mentioned e-ID cards and I wondered if this is something I can organise prior to arriving so I can start working as soon as possible.

    Any support and advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Best wishes,
    Kelly

     
  19. Hello Elizabeth,

    My wife and I are moving to Malta at the begining of 2014. She has over 8 years expierience as director of sales in hotels (London and Warsaw) She might be interested in some hotel,s job e.g reservation manager etc.Myselve i have few years of expierience as car flet management. Working in pharma and automotive sectors in Poland.what kind of job I can apply for connecting to cars and automotive field. We have also two little kids and we would like to find for them some place such as nursery or kindergarten. How does it look like , what is the cots? We already booked flight and accomodation for recon trip for 25 th of Sept for 2 weeks. Maybe you can recomend some actions already.
    Many thanks in advance!!

     
  20. Dear Elizabeth,

    Iam planning to move to Malta to live and work there. I have extensive knowledge in IT industry. I have spent 10 years in IT (Service desk, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line support,Incident, problem and change management, Project Management – quality & risk management and Audit), I have worked for larger Companies(EDS,HP, T-Systems(German Telecom) and GCom). PLEASE ADVISE whether it will be easy to find a job which corresponds with my experience? Also should I apply outside Malta beforehand or only when Iam there?

    Lookinf forward to your answer.

    Thanks so much,

    Peter.

     
  21. Dear Elizabeth,
    My dream is to move to Gozo as soon as possible with my family. I am desperately searching for some advice before doing anything foolish! We live in Italy, my husband is Italian and he is an engineer, I have dual nationality, Italian and English and I work in an Embassy for a ridiculous wage (local staff in embassies have a terrible life) and we have a 2 and ½ year old boy. We are sick and tired of our life and I would like to move to Gozo, rent a farmhouse (we have no money to buy it) and run a B&B in the farmhouse. Since once we quit our jobs we will never be able to find other jobs in Italy and risking everything with a small child is impossible, I really need to know if my idea could work and eventually if we could be able to find works (if the B&B goes bad). I am willing to do anything, even work in a farm! Since my boy speaks perfect English and he is starting now to learn Italian, maybe he could learn malti and go to a public school when he is older.
    But for now I only need a suggestion: if I can let my dream come true, or it’s better to stick to my lousy life! ;)
    Thank you so much!
    Samantha

     
  22. Samantha,
    Gozo is very small indeed and while it might be a dream location, you need to think of the practicalities. If your husband finds works as an engineer (probably a better route than thinking a B&B will provide enough income for you all), he’d be commuting to Malta each day. I think you need to work out the logistics first. And also realise that while Gozo is more of an all-year-round destination these days, it can be quiet out of season and apart from countryside etc, I am not sure how much you’d find to do socially. The choice of Gozo or Malta depends on how you envisage your lifestyle. I have no idea if you’d be permitted, by the landlord or the Tourism Authority who license accommodation, to run a B&B from a rented property. I think the first issue, if you are keen to do that kind of service (which can be seasonal, btw) is to talk to the relevant section at MTA.com.mt to find out the legalities and details of that. Also, Gozo is awash with accommodation so you’d need to have a distinct offer, and be highly competitive in your rates. I would advise starting off in Malta, renting somewhere within your budget and finding jobs. Work should be around if you’ve been working in an embassy – administrative jobs in hotels, language schools, conference and incentive entities, etc, especially if you speak Italian. Then, suss out the B&B options. In the past year or so, some very classy, upmarket B&Bs have started opening (see Chapel 5 in Naxxar for eg) so you might think about waiting a while, looking around at what’s on offer and working out where to pitch your B&B. Lower end accommdation is aplenty. Hope this helps. Certainly, a sustainable livelihood and lifestyle are possible in Malta/Gozo, but you need to do a reccy and get a feel for how to start here and then think about your own biz perhaps a half year into settling here. The grass is always greener, btw. Re schooling, we’ve a post on that with very recent comments which can give you an idea of what to expect.

     
  23. Thank you very much for your suggestions! Really appreciate it! :)

     
  24. Hi Elizabeth,

    I woul highly appreciate your answers for my question in case you could reply.
    Iam keen to move to Malta and these informations would be very useful for me.

    Many thanks.

    Peter.

     
  25. Peter,
    At Malta Inside Out, we can’t give you totally tailored, personal replies but we can help a little in pointing you to people and entities that can. Clearly, with your extensive background, you will find employment here in Malta, however do be aware that depending on the type of company you might join here in Malta, salaries will be way below what you would expect in most northern European countries (Germany, Netherlands, UK, etc). I suggest you contact recruitment agencies here now, early stage, before heading here unemployed. A good Google search will reveal a long list of them, but perhaps try these, which are well known on the island: Muovo.eu and Castille Resources. Do also look at our other article, written by a recruiter on what to expect here as an expat job-seeker, if you haven’t already come across it.

     
  26. Peter, my reply earlier in the thread to your first comment.

     
  27. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you for your answer.

    Peter.

     
  28. Hi Elizabeth, i have recently been on holliday in Malta and i ‘ve enjoyed it very much. I was wondering if u would know how difficult wd be to find a job as a tennis coach there in a club. I have an University degree in sports and in psychology.I am romanian, i speak english, italian and french. Thank you, Daniela

     
  29. Daniela,
    My son’s school has in fact a tennis coach originally from Bulgaria (he is also a sports teacher), so the short answer is that yes, there may well be possibilities. I suggest you contact the Malta Tennis Federation to see if they can advise you on coaching privately, at hotels and private schools, clubs etc. You may well have to look for a job within a regular school as a sports’ teacher and perhaps specialise in tennis (after school clubs etc). Good luck!

     
  30. Thank you very much for answering so soon!

     
  31. My pleasure Daniela, we try to help when we can!