Malta, the Brain Business Leader

Published on 18 January, 2019

According to the latest report “The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs” issued by the European Centre for Policy Reform and Entrepreneurship, Malta ranked as a Southern European centre for ‘brain businesses’ companies that compete through their brain power and know-how.

The report gives an overview of the various sectors where brain business jobs are found, as well as a distribution of these sectors between countries and capital regions in Europe. It is aimed at businesses and investors making a strategic choice about where to locate or invest and shows that the concentration of occupations in highly knowledge-intensive companies is the highest in southern Europe even surpassing France: 5.5% of the working age population of Malta is employed in such firms. Hence, this is higher than the European average of 5%, however the growth has been slower

Moreover, this report adds further credit to Malta’s claim to be the most interesting investment location in the region. By attracting international businesses and talent, the country strives to become a Singapore of the Mediterranean.

Lower cost of living attracts more talent for brain business jobs

The key for the success of knowledge-intensive industries is to attract talent. Regions with a very high cost of living face a disadvantage. Companies must pay high wages for programmers, engineers. Therefore, this is a challenge for already rich nations such as Norway, Switzerland and the UK. Malta, however, with a rapidly rising cost of living, must also keep that in mind.

Knowledge regions with lower costs of living and correspondingly lower wages have a competitive advantage. Bringing down the cost of living is key for long term performance, since it affects the cost of business for hiring a skilled programmer or engineer. Increasingly, we will see that individuals rather than moving to Amsterdam and Zurich will stay in places such as Bratislava, Budapest or even Bucharest and sell their services on the international market. Much like China became the manufacturing hub of the world, the capital regions of the Central and Eastern European nations are becoming the new brain business centres.

The islands strengths according to the report lie in advanced services and the creative professions, while it remains weak in tech and IT, Malta is strong Film/TV/Music and Advertising. In particular, there are strong financial services and gaming industry clusters in Malta. In these areas start-ups have also sprung up or flocked to the island.

The report was authored by Dr. Nima Sanandaji and Prof. Stefan Fölster.“As ECEPR is a Malta-based think tank, we are proud to see that our home is the regional leader in this regard, and would be happy to promote the findings of this report locally so that we can use it to leverage Malta’s international position even further”.

Source: Times of Malta