News Releases

Malta Skills Survey 2022: Preview of results
NR 079/2024
Release Date: 3 May 2024
The most common skills among the population relate to Communication and collaboration, and Computing.

The Malta Skills Survey conducted in the last quarter of 2022 was the first survey carried out at a national level with the intent of producing a skills profile of persons living in Malta. 

Several areas were covered in the survey to produce a reasonably comprehensive overview of the skills possessed by the target population. In this regard, respondents were asked to identify skills which they considered themselves to be good at, and which they perceived could be used for work purposes. Information on proficiency in languages and licences held by persons was also collected.

This news release provides salient findings of the Malta Skills Survey. A more detailed publication is planned to be produced in the coming weeks.

Broad skills categories by demographic characteristics

Table 1 provides an overview of the demographic characteristics of persons having different skills. Eight skills categories were identified and for each category, a demographic profile was provided. 

The most common skills categories among the target population were Computer and related skills, and Communication, collaboration, and related skills. Each of these broad categories garnered almost a fifth of the total number of skills possessed by the 15-64 population.

Males were more likely to have higher shares in the skills categories of Construction, Agriculture and fishing, and Tools and machinery. Females, on the other hand, evidenced higher percentages in the categories of Assistance and care, Computing, and Communication and collaboration.

Differences by age group were also noted, with the younger cohort being more knowledgeable in Computer, and Communication and collaboration skills. The older segment of the population tended to lean more towards Assistance and care, and Communication and collaboration skills.

The survey results reveal that education levels were highly correlated to the type of skill. Persons with a secondary level of education or less were shown to predominate in Assistance and care-related abilities. By contrast, persons having a post-secondary level of education or higher tended to be more into Computer, and Communication and collaboration skills.

Chart 1. Distribution of broad skills category by sex

as a per cent of the Population

No Data Found

Top skills

Table 3 identifies the 10 most common skills possessed by the population. Basic computing came out as the most common skill, with over three-fourths of the population identifying it in their replies. This was followed by two soft skills, namely, supervising a team or group and assisting the public and clients.

Within the artistic and creative sphere, the most highlighted were culinary capabilities, with two out of every 10 persons (Table 4). Painting/Whitewashing was the most common skill within the Construction category. This particular skill also emerged as fairly popular among females.

Another ability identified in the survey was the handling of animals which resulted as the most prevalent skill within Agriculture, fishing and related skills, with one in every 10 persons. From the educational standpoint young people (15-24 age group) and persons with a secondary level of education or less were more likely to have this skill compared to other demographic groups.

Within the broad category of Tools, machinery and related skills, the ability associated with operating machinery for the manufacture of products prevailed for the most part. The age group 45-64, females and persons with a secondary educational level or less emerged as more likely to have such a skill compared to other demographic groups.

Within Assistance, care and related skills, the most common skill was assisting the public and clients, highlighted by almost half of the population.

Supervisory skills were the most singled out abilities from the Communication, collaboration and related skills category. It was noted that three-fourths of persons having this skill had attained a tertiary level of education.

Almost one-third of persons in the Information and related skills category identified the gathering of information from physical or electronic sources as a skill, and the data shows its prevalence in almost five out of every 10 persons with a tertiary level of education.

Returning to basic computing skills, apart from being the most common skill within the Computer and related skills category, rudimentary abilities in computer use were estimated to constitute the most common skill overall.

Language skills

The Malta Skills Survey includes information on languages understood by the target population. Over 30 different languages were identified by respondents reflecting the diversity of nationalities residing in the country. Table 5 provides a socio-demographic profile of persons for the 10 top-most understood languages by people living in the country. The three most understood languages were English (96.0 per cent), followed by Maltese (90.4 per cent) and Italian (62.0 per cent).  The survey further showed that an average of 35 per cent of non-Maltese citizens had at least a basic knowledge of the Maltese language and 96.6 per cent of the English language at the time of the survey.

The Northern Harbour and the Northern district registered the lowest number of persons with any knowledge of the Maltese language. Virtually all persons with a tertiary education know English (99.8 per cent), while knowledge of Maltese among the same sub-group is 85.0 per cent. From the employment point of view, almost nine in every 10 employed persons understands Maltese. 

Looking at languages by age, persons aged 25 to 44 was the group most cognizant with the highest number of languages (three or more languages, 74.3 per cent) (Chart 2). Females tend to be more conversant with language used compared to males. Almost three in every four persons with Maltese citizenship know at least three languages (Chart 3).

Language proficiency among the employed varied across the different occupational groups (Table 6). The highest levels throughout the different occupations were recorded in English, Maltese and Italian.

Chart 2. Number of languages by sex and age group

Males (M), Females (F) and Total (T)

No Data Found

Chart 3. Number of languages by citizenship

No Data Found

Licence holders

The Malta Skills Survey sought to reinforce its findings on skills by gathering information on licences. The survey covered a wide range of licences, among them the Driving, Nautical, Trade and Electrical licences. The most common type of licence in Malta is the Driving Licence which results show was held by some 82 per cent of the total population aged 15-64 at the time of the survey (Table 7). Percentage shares on a nationality basis came up to 83.4 per cent of Maltese nationals, 87.0 per cent of other EU nationals (excluding Maltese), and 63.8 per cent of Non-EU nationals. A Nautical licence was the most prevalent after the Driving licence, held by eight per cent of the 15-64 population cohort. This was followed by Firearms licence and Private Guard licence holders.

All types of licences were mostly held by individuals aged 25 and over. More than one-fifth of women and one-third of non-EU nationals did not have a licence of any type.

When looking at the distribution of licences by geographical location, Gozo and Comino appeared from the survey to be the district with the highest share of licences among the population. In this regard, 89.6 per cent of Gozo residents were estimated to have a type of licence. The same district emerged with the largest share of Firearms licences, as well as the largest proportion of Nautical licences in relation to the population residing in Gozo and Comino.

When looking at the distribution of licences among the employed segment of the population, one observes that the driving licence was by far the most common licence held with shares of 90 per cent or more in almost all the occupational groups (Table 8).


Methodological Notes

1. The Malta Skills Survey was carried out in the fourth quarter of 2022. The main objective of the survey was to collect information on the skills of the resident population.

2. The target population comprised individuals aged between 15 and 64 residing in private households. For Maltese nationals, the ‘usual residence’ definition was followed and thus respondents had to satisfy one of the following criteria:

● Lived in Malta for a continuous period of at least 12 months prior to the date of the survey;

● Moved to a country other than Malta for a period of less than 12 months and who had the intention to return to Malta;

Foreign nationals were included in the target population if they had been living in Malta for at least five years prior to the date of the survey.

3. Definitions and Classifications

3.1 Districts classification:

Southern Harbour: Bormla; Il-Fgura; Floriana; Ħal Luqa; Ħaż-Żabbar; Il-Kalkara; Il-Marsa; Raħal Ġdid; Santa Luċija; L-Isla; Ħal Tarxien; Valletta; Il-Birgu; Ix-Xgħajra.

Northern Harbour: Birkirkara; Il-Gżira; Ħal Qormi; Il-Ħamrun; L-Imsida; Pembroke; San Ġwann; Santa Venera; San Ġiljan; Is-Swieqi; Ta’ Xbiex; Tal-Pietà; Tas-Sliema.

South Eastern: Birżebbuġa; Il-Gudja; Ħal Għaxaq; Ħal Kirkop; Ħal Safi; Marsaskala; Marsaxlokk; L-Imqabba; Il-Qrendi; Iz-Żejtun; iz-Żurrieq.

Western: Ħad-Dingli; Ħal Balzan; Ħal Lija; Ħ’Attard; Ħaż-Żebbuġ; L-Iklin; L-Imdina; L-Imtarfa; Ir-Rabat; Is-Siġġiewi.

Northern: Ħal Għargħur; Il-Mellieħa; L-Imġarr; Il-Mosta; In-Naxxar; San Pawl Il-Baħar.

Gozo and Comino: Il-Fontana; Għajnsielem and Comino; L-Għarb; L-Għasri; Il-Munxar; In-Nadur; Il-Qala; San Lawrenz; Ta’ Kerċem; Ta’ Sannat; Ir-Rabat; Ix-Xagħra; Ix-Xewkija; Iż-Żebbuġ.

3.2 Highest level of education:

The highest level of education was classified using the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011).  This classification is a framework for assembling, compiling, and analysing cross-nationally comparable statistics on education. ISCED belongs to the United Nations International Family of Economic and Social Classifications and is the reference classification for organising education programmes and related qualifications by levels and fields of education. ISCED is designed to serve as a framework to classify educational activities as defined in programmes and the resulting qualifications into internationally agreed categories. For more information refer to the ISCED 2011 manual.

For the purpose of this survey the following main groups are used:

● Secondary level of education or lower: comprising persons with no schooling, primary education, schools for children with special needs and persons who attained a secondary level education and have less than 2 ordinary level qualifications or equivalent. In the context of the ISCED classification, ‘low’ includes ISCED 0 to 2;

● Post-secondary level of education: comprising persons with a secondary level education and having 2 ordinary level qualifications or equivalent or more, and persons with a post-secondary level attainment who have obtained at least 1 intermediate or advanced level qualification or equivalent. In the context of the ISCED classification, ‘medium’ refers to ISCED 3 and 4;

● Tertiary level of education: comprising persons with a tertiary level education and with qualifications ranging from diploma to doctorate level. In the context of the ISCED classification, ‘high’ refers to ISCED 5 to 8.

3.3 Languages:

This section collected information on respondents’ knowledge of different languages. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages CEFR or CEFRL, was used as a guideline in the classification of languages.

The CEFR differentiates between four types of language activities: Reception (listening and reading types), Production and Interaction (spoken and written types), and Mediation (translating and interpreting types). The measurement of these activities classifies a user into one of the three broad divisions: Basic User, Independent User and Proficient User.

Each of these divisions is further sub-divided into two levels, subsequently resulting in six levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) of language proficiency.

Definitions related to languages are as follows:

● Languages knowledge: Self-assessment in Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing skills.

● Level: Self-assessment in each language sub-divided by level, namely ‘No Knowledge’, ‘Beginner’, ‘Intermediate’ and ‘Advanced’. These  categories are equivalent to the levels measured through the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), namely ‘Basic’, ‘Independent’ and ‘Proficient’ user levels, respectively.

3.4 Licences:

● driving

● nautical

● trade

● tourist guide

● real estate

● wireman

● stone mason

● fireworks

● firearms

● private guard

Respondents had the option to specify any other licences (up to 5 options) not featured in the pre-defined list. The aim was for respondents to include all licences, inclusive of foreign country ones that they held, irrespective of whether the licence was valid or expired or not renewed at the time of the survey.

3.5 International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO 2008)

The International Standard Classification of Occupations classifies persons according to their actual and potential relation with jobs. Jobs are classified according to the type of work performed or to be performed. The basic criteria used to define the system of major, sub-major, minor, and unit groups is the “skill” level and “skill specialisation” required to carry out the tasks and duties of the occupations, with separate major groups for “Legislators, senior officials and managers” and for “Armed forces”.

ISCO 2008

0 Armed Forces Occupations

2 Professionals

3 Technicians and associate professionals

4 Clerical support workers

5 Service and sales workers

6 Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers

7 Craft and related trades workers

8 Plant and machine operators, and assemblers

9 Elementary occupations

3.6 Skills

The skills section aimed to collect information about all the skills respondents possess and/or use, or believe they can use, for work purposes. The European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO) classification was adapted and used for the classification of skills in the Malta Skills Survey. ESCO is the European multilingual classification of Skills, Competences and Occupations endorsed by the European Commission (

The ESCO classification laid the foundation for the eight broad skills categories which were adopted in the Malta Skills Survey, subject to various adaptations to the local context.

Definitions for each broad skills category are as follows:

● Artistic and creative skills: Includes competencies related to developing visual representations or materials, artistic designs and performances;

● Construction and related skills: Focuses on building, repairing, installing and finishing interior and exterior structures;

● Agriculture, fishing and related skills: Incorporates skills related to caring for and harvesting plants and crops, caring for live animals and fishing;

● Tools, machinery and related skills: Includes competencies related to operating vehicles, machinery and precision instrumentation and equipment;

● Assistance, care and related skills: Focuses on proficiency related to assistance, care and support to people, and ensuring compliance to guidelines or laws;

● Communication, collaboration and related skills: Includes skills related to negotiating, developing solutions to problems, creating plans, and imparting knowledge to others;

● Information and related skills: Encompasses competencies related to collecting, storing and using information, conducting studies and projecting outcomes;

● Computer and related skills: Includes abilities related to computers and other digital tools to maintain ICT software and infrastructure.

Following the publication of the Preliminary Report, the NSO embarked upon the coding of skills given in free text by respondents. Subsequently, this coding exercise resulted in grouping data under the eight skills categories given above.  There remains the possibility of some reclassification of skills in different groups to those consider at the time of the compilation of the Preliminary Report.

4. Other notes

Where percentage totals do not add up due to rounding, this is indicated in the table.

: Unreliable – less than 20 sample observations.

u Under represented between 20 and 49 sample observations.

5. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately. For guidance on access and re-use of data please visit our dedicated webpage.

6. A detailed news release calendar is available online.

7. For further assistance send your request through our online request form.

Malta Skills Survey 2022: Preview of results
NR 079/2024
Release Date: 3 May 2024
  • Over three-fourths of the population had skills related to Computing, Communication and collaboration.
  • Those aged between 45 and 64 years tended to have skills associated with Assistance and care, and Communication and collaboration. Younger persons were more likely to be conversant in Computer, and possess Communication and collaboration skills.
  • Basic computing emerged as the most common skill, with over three-fourths of the population identifying it in their replies.
  • The top two soft skills identified were supervising a team or group and assisting the public and clients.
  • Residents of Gozo and Comino had the highest share of licences held in relation to the population size.
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