In today’s world, the demand for people who are skilled in ICT is stratospheric. However, when it comes to skill excellence and re-skill ability in Malta, more data is needed to adequately address any gaps in policy and skill sets required, which is what led to the ICT Skills Demand and Supply Monitor 2021, compiled by the eSkills Malta Foundation.
Helping to formulate a plan
Of course, the importance of re-skilling is more than vital, given the speed at which IT changes. In order to keep up, a pro-active approach is required to not just access current potential, but to create a path that ensures continuous development over the coming years that will lead to growth and evolution.
What the Monitor will do is provide accurate snapshots of the current ICT industry demands and what supply the education and training spheres can offer in Malta. It’s essentially a guide for the short and long-term action that’s needed and is therefore highly specific, much like IT jobs are becoming at the moment.
It’s through measures like this that the Government of Malta, together with entities like eSkills Malta Foundation can draw up policies that are ultimately relevant to the growth of the industry. Educational institutions are then responsible for adopting these frameworks and maintaining the standards that continue to put Malta on the global IT map.
The challenges we’re facing
Given Malta’s nature as an island state, keeping up with, if not overtaking, our European counterparts is extremely important. There’s a 21.9% sector employment growth forecasted in the local ICT spectrum, but the only way to ensure it’s sustainable is ensuring that the applicants are up to scratch.
As the quality level of demand increases, the current challenge is having enough Malta-based professionals who are competent. The truth is that at the moment, local tertiary education cannot satisfy the demand for ICT students. This means that foreign talent probably needs to be brought in, but that is only a short-term solution.
What the Monitor’s report suggests is that Malta’s ICT market needs to reach an international stage. How can this be reached? By exploring initiatives that the country has been somewhat reluctant to do in the past. The first step suggested is to enable and streamline communication with the key stakeholders in the field.
This would mean a constant flow of information allowing a homogenous market evolution that’s up to scratch with international trends. This more centralised approach would also tally with the study’s recommendation that a national platform is required for all of this to succeed.
This ain’t no census
This study is an analysis built on responses and personally conducted interviews by the Foundation. Apart from identifying critical areas of interest and trends, what was really needed was to understand the market’s general sentiment towards the state of the Maltese ICT sector.
As Chief Admin Carm Cachia says in the report, the value of IT was exacerbated by COVID-19. “The pandemic has clearly shown us that digitalisation is a crucial element to the industry and its workforce, education of any level, and any person in society.” This inadvertently led to a need for readjustment in order to cope with new demands which have continued to change.
For further information, the report can be downloaded here.
Share your thoughts on this report and the Maltese ICT sector in the comments section.