For this outing on Hunted Worldwide, we jet off to the small island of Malta, with Nicholls Moisa to find out why this unlikely location is providing a huge shot in the arm for recruitment careers in Financial Services.
In the last four years Malta’s gained a huge amount of recognition internationally in FS. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a much cheaper option than the more established alternatives in Luxembourg, Dublin, London, Paris or Switzerland.
Secondly, there are some really exciting government initiatives being introduced to welcome FDI’s into the country. Being an English speaking country makes the transition for many professionals an easy one and the infrastructure confounds this yet further.
There are very attractive tax incentives for FS and Gaming businesses moving into Malta. This is coupled by offering top earning individuals the Highly Qualified Persons scheme which constitutes 15% tax for salaries of €82,000 or more.
This means the recruitment market in Malta right now is booming. Malta was named as the European domicile of choice for 2013 in the prestigious Hedge Funds Review Service Ranking (HFR SP). Since joining the EU, the country’s welcomed over 400 investment services and established itself as a preeminent home for commerce.
What does this mean for recruitment into these markets? Opportunity. Constant, high reward opportunity.
Right now in Malta, the Finance sector revolves around permanent placements. That may change of course with the maturing of markets and the shortage of skills on the island, but currently, unless you’re in construction or hospitality there’s not much contract.
The market’s hugely candidate driven too. The last time Francina at Nicholls Moisa picked up the phone to cold call a client was 18 months ago.
There are networking events in Malta 3 or 4 times a year and due to the emerging economy, there are bitcoin and blockchain incentives across the island. The event to launch this initiative was done on the beach with a BBQ and cocktails.
That’s what it’s like in Malta.
There’s no suit and stuffiness. It’s incredibly laid back a lot of people in their late 20’s to early 30’s are starting to swarm. Yacht parties are common place but you will find more formal events around legislation if you’re that way inclined.
If you’re starting on your own or with a young business then you will have to cold call and take a ‘London’ approach to winning business in Malta. But that won’t last long. After 6 months for Nicholls Moisa everything was relationship and referral based.
You’ll bump into clients at the beach. You’ll be invited to their parties and your relationships will be close and based on trust. Also, because it’s an ex-British colony, English is the language spoken.
There’s also no CBD to speak of here. The island’s very small so businesses have the luxury of choosing their location. And because it only takes 1.5 hours to drive meetings are easy.
If you’re working in Finance, (and if you’re moving to Malta, that’s likely) you’ll be expected to dress on the formal side for meetings. Outside of this however, it can get hot in Malta, so you won’t want to be wearing a tie all the time.
You’re going to want a car in Malta. There is a good bus service on the island, but the freedom of having your own transport is definitely something you’ll want to have. And the island’s too small for trains or trams.
There are 300 days of sunshine in Malta.
So, wherever you’re moving from, it’s likely you’re going to need a slighter lighter wardrobe and lots of sun cream.
The construction industry’s in full swing in Malta currently meaning it’s getting easier to find great accommodation. It’s getting more expensive but you can get a 1 bed flat for around €600 per month, depending on the area. The size of the properties is massive compared to cities like London, you get a lot for your money.
It’s also very easy to buy a property. If you’ve been employed for 2 years in the country, you can apply for a mortgage with 10% deposit. The annual interest rate is 3.1% on average. You can buy on the island before 2 years but the deposit will rise to 40%.
Malta’s cuisine is very much influenced by mediterranean style cooking. But, with the expansion of culture, there’s a new variety of cuisine on offer. There’s Kosher, Asian, African influences to be found across many top restaurants. Maltese food can be quite unique but you’ll be able to grow fresh fruit and veg in your garden and bread is made everywhere first thing in the morning.
Once you sit down for dinner in Malta you don’t stand up for a good few hours.
Being an arid island in the med, Malta’s got more of a beach culture than wide open parks or greenery. There are archeological sites everywhere however and years of culture to explore. Naturally there’s plenty of water-sports, climbing and extreme fishing and it’s only 40 mins to Gozo by ferry which is an island off Malta that offers more still for the adventurous types.
When you move to Malta, it’s incredibly obvious it’s not a big place. Therefore meeting people won’t be difficult. Your colleagues and contacts through work will no doubt be quick to invite you to parties and social gatherings and there’s an inclusive nature to living here.
If you’ve got a young family, that’s probably one of the top considerations in moving abroad. In this case however, it’s all positive news.
The govt recently introduced a scheme meaning that childcare up to 3 years is free if both parents are working. Then the public schools are all free too and the standard’s pretty good and works off the English school curriculum.
There are private schools in Malta too if you’re willing to pay a bit more money. But there are now government tax breaks for private schools meaning it’s more affordable than the majority of Europe and in the new budget this year, the Government announced free school transport for all children.
Malta is paving the way for immigration to bring top skills into the country and incentives like this are there to be taken advantage of for years.
If you’re a Recruiter from London or a major European hub, you’ll probably be able to maintain your billings in Malta. Alongside that, the cost of living is dramatically lower. So you’ll be a lot better off.
The cost of a pint is probably €2.50. A loaf of bread is 80c and a 3 course meal with wine will set you back €60. If you fancy pushing the boat out, it’ll be €110.
There are different schemes for taxation in Malta and it’s worth checking out the finer details as for each individual it will differ. One thing to mention however is it’s likely to be a lesser rate than you’re paying currently.
Currently, anyone in Europe can work in Malta without restriction. For obvious reasons, this may not be the case for UK citizens for too much longer but work permits will only take 3-6 months on average and the Maltese are keen for new residents.
Taking a ferry from Malta will get you to Italy in under an hour. The airport has links to almost anywhere you can think of and being positioned in the Med opens up a world of possibilities for holidaying and seeing different shores.
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