This week, in honour of Women’s Day, we are highlighting some points related to the place of women in the workforce. The findings are taken from Keepmeposted’s recently published report ‘The Evolution of Employment in Malta’ – an in-depth analysis of the last ten years of employment in Malta, and how it has changed in the past decade.

Strong economic growth led to record-low unemployment and an increase in the size of Malta’s workforce. Interestingly, the increase in female employment was a major driver of the overall growth in employment rates. Economic growth was key in this – as this meant more opportunities for employment. The introduction of fiscal incentives such as universal free childcare was also a factor in the increase of women choosing to enter the workplace.

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Here are four points we noted in our analysis:

Women are increasingly more qualified

While in 2014 females with tertiary education in the 30-34 age bracket were 9.2 percentage points higher than males, this difference increased to 13.8 percentage points in 2019. The difference between males and females is higher in Malta than the EU28 average and in 2019 which stood at 10.1% in favour of females.

Women are taking up more service-oriented jobs

By 2019, 57.1% of women were employed in the services sector. This is up by 11.1 percentage points from 46% in 2014. In fact, the largest percentage of women are employed as ‘Service and sales workers’, whilst the second largest percentage as ‘Professionals’. In contrast, only 8.2% hold a managerial role versus 12.9% of men. However, this is still a marked increase over the 2011 statistic which indicated 5.4% of women hold managerial roles versus 10.6% of men.

The gender pay gap is still there

Even though women are becoming increasingly more qualified than men (see first point), the gender pay gap is still present.  Whilst the average gross salary registered a 30% increase between 2011 and 2019, the average increase for male workers was 12% higher than that for their female counterparts. The biggest difference was registered in the professional, technical, service and sales, and plant and machine operator classes of employment.  As an example, within the service and sales sector (the sector occupied by the largest percentage of women) the average salary for women in 2011 was €10,269, whilst in 2019 the average salary for women in this sector was €12,570.

The analysis points out that this is in part explained by the fact that women tend to work reduced hours and thus earn a lower salary. However, it is also likely a consequence of the fact that women are known to be offered worse employment conditions than their male counterparts in sectors – such as in this case, the professional, technical and sales sectors – where contracts are negotiated by each client and are not part of collective bargaining agreements.

What did our survey respondents have to say about gender in the workplace?

A targeted survey was conducted during the whole month of May 2021, in order to gather insights from thought leaders on what employment in Malta might look like in the future. There was a slight majority (an average score of 3.7 out of 5) who believed that gender balance will become a priority for businesses in the future. Respondents from the Tourism and Manufacturing sectors were neutral on this, while the respondents for one of the local authorities and workers’ union disagreed that gender balance will become a priority.

What do you make of this? Read the full report to get all the detail!