Thursday, 5 May 2011

The 'people industry': recruitment challenges and how to search for right talent

by Neville Bezzina 

The reality: skills mismatch

Malta's greatest economic resource is its people: their skills, their abilities and flexibility. The principle of human skills development is also outlined in the government's Smart Island strategy, aimed at boosting Malta's relevance in the ICT and technology sectors.

The main idea of the strategy is to equip the younger population with the right degrees and work experience in order to fulfill the demands of the market.  This is being addressed through initiatives such as the EU-funded STEPS scholarships, of which one main priority area is to address 'skills mismatches': that is, reducing the gap between what business need in their employees and what the labour market currently provides. 

The gap is all too palpable and real, with local businesses often being unable to find suitably qualified experts locals to fulfill certain duties.

Rapid solutions required by businesses

Cultivating the right skills through the educational system to match the rapidly shifting economic market is a complicated process, however, and one that takes a lot of time.

In an economy that immediately requires highly experienced and knowledge-specific individuals, Maltese businesses currently face the challenge of attracting the right talent from abroad. Most local web and software development houses are categorised as SME's, and face an uphill struggle in compelling foreign professionals to come and work on the island.

According to Alex Grech, director of Muovo, a boutique ICT staffing solutions firm in Malta, a company's willingness to adapt available opportunities to the right candidate positively suggests that a particular business is an attractive place to work at. Professionals nowadays are always on the move, on the lookout for better and more lucrative positions and opportunities and business must adapt to this new reality and offer a better package in order to employ the best talent and emerge as a market leader.

Sometimes the challenge is even more fundamental.  Attracting the right applicants for vacant (and critical) positions is critically hindered if the reach of the company's people network is limited. 

Consulting with experts; amplifying reach

Enterprises who are struggling to fill vacancies need to laterally re-think their recruitment efforts. In an ideal scenario for Maltese companies, they would be able employ someone whose role is specifically directed at reaching out to working professionals and actively building a system of relationships with potential employees. The reality is that economically, this is rarely possible, but a parallel effect is achievable through working with a third party recruitment company.

Companies who engage with recruitment experts start creating a presence as a potential employer in the mind of those professionals within the agency's candidate database. Through outsourcing their search, companies amplify their reach as the amount of time spent attracting potential employees is exponentially increased. Companies which diversify recruitment efforts by leveraging the already-embedded networks of third party recruitment solutions gain a double advantage over their competitors: their people network is amplified, and their particular opportunities are heard by a targeted and filtered audience.

Where to next?

It is difficult to anticipate how recruitment in Malta will evolve in the coming years. The current trend shows a strong movement towards more affiliate deals and usage of curated online social professional networks. The best recruitment agencies for Maltese businesses to work with are those who focus on building a network of highly specialised workers, who adapt to technology and offer better quality to their clients, as this is the current need of the market.  

There are still sectors, such as the financial services industry, in the Maltese economy that are facing an urgent shortage of skills from the local market which the educational reform is too slow to provide. When it comes to positions requiring highly skilled and adaptable people, such as jobs with strong components of applied IT and business know-how, employers' currently must necessarily look to expand and consider foreign talent, making working with the right recruitment partner an important competent of the recruitment strategy.

For further info on targeted recruitment solutions contact Muovo

21 443 000     


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