Malta as the Blockchain Island

Malta's leading Blockchain stakeholders weigh in on Malta's prospects as a high-tech hub for innovation and the impact of Blockchain and FinTech on recruitment and HR in Malta.

Interview: Blockchain Island – A Work In Progress

Find out more about the impact of Blockchain and the FinTech industries impact on recruitment in Malta and the benefits the technology can bring to HR.
Marie-Claire Grima speaks to some of the leading Blockchain industry stakeholders, who weigh in on Malta's prospects as a high-tech hub for innovation. 
This "Blockchain Island" cover story features Hon Silvio Schembri - Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, Stephen McCarthy - CEO of Malta Digital Innovation Authority, Ian Gauci - Partner at Afilexion Aliance, and Ben Pace Lehner - Director of Broadwing Recruitment.

With Malta being promoted as the Blockchain Island, do you think there are enough members in the workforce with the know-how to supply the industry?

With Malta’s economy continuing to grow steadily year on year, the local workforce is already spread thin while boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. We are faced with a severe shortage of labour across all industries and more so in skilled jobs such as those required by the iGaming and Financial Services industries. As a matter of fact, only 25% of jobs within the iGaming industry are being filled by Maltese nationals.

Promoting ‘The Blockchain Island’ aims to increase Malta’s popularity as a hub for the FinTech industry and its success will most certainly increase demand for specialised workers. Unfortunately, STEM graduates are already scarce in Malta, however the increase in popularity of remote working is allowing companies to utilise experts in different jurisdictions.

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As the blockchain industry becomes more established in Malta, do you envision another wave of foreign nationals looking to work here?

Current statistics by Eurostat and the NSO show that Malta expects the need for 35,000 foreign workers within the next 5 years to sustain its current economic growth rate. The FinTech sector will most certainly add to this strain however with an estimated 3 to 10 years for the industry to be integrated into our daily lives, we are still in time to implement solutions to address these challenges and close the skills-gap.

One of these solutions is to provide specialised IT oriented training opportunities targeting not only youths in Malta but anyone looking to take their first step into this emerging industry. It is essential for companies to offer continuous training to their employees keeping abreast of technological advancements or changes to the industry and this is being supported through various initiates such as the “Skills Development Scheme”, the EU-funded Investing in Skills (IIS) scheme, and other initiatives to promote up-skilling.

Furthermore, Malta has recently announced the official launch of “Tech.MT” which will aid in promoting Malta as an attractive destination within the EU for tech firms, start-ups, and foreign nationals looking to progress their career in Malta.

Do you think the blockchain industry, whose personnel may need skills similar to those in finance and iGaming, could slow down the growth of other hi-tech industries in Malta?

Without a doubt, the FinTech industry has a large skills overlap with the finance and iGaming industries and will pose a threat in terms of HR while opening up many other opportunities which will see Blockchain and Crypto being adopted within these industries.

Malta is already facing an employee’s market where it is easy for an employee to switch jobs more regularly. The biggest challenge here, is in improving employee-retention strategies through a good work-life balance which focusses more on the company culture than purely high wages. The iGaming industry has already cast a spotlight on this being the first sector to have adopted these strategies across the board through their lavish offices, flexible work arrangements, regular team-building activities, events, and other employee benefits including in-house chef’s, gym’s, employee pickups and much more.

Malta will also be the first country to adopt the Blockcerts open standard for academic credentials – how do you think this will impact the recruitment process, in future?

The adaptation of the Blockcerts open standard for academic credentials is without a doubt another step in the right direction for Malta. It is an exciting time for the HR and recruitment industry with the technology offering a tool to save time in processing and vetting candidates credentials and qualifications however the real potential of such technology can only truly come to light once other recruitment tools and networks integrate these academic credentials into their workflow.

Over the past few months, Broadwing has been working with an international partner on an HR & Blockchain project building on the Blockcerts concept and while we look forward to the benefits that can be achieved through this integration, we are not able to give more information at this time.

What is Broadwing’s approach to dealing with specialised recruitment?

How does it help the client find the perfect candidate, even if they’re a needle in a haystack?

Broadwing’s philosophy has always been to offer a personal approach while adopting innovative technologies, maintaining accurate data and prioritising the human element. In order to deal with specialised recruitment of this nature, our primary focus is on getting to know our client, understanding their company culture and ideal employee. We achieve this through regular communication between our recruiters and the clients HR and hiring managers coupled with an on-site visit. This gives us first-hand experience of their work environment and is essential when head-hunting candidates for specialised jobs through our various sources and international partner network.

Our recruiters are divided into specific sectors and given regular training allowing them to become experts in their field. We also encourage and support our team by attending seminars, expos and conferences such as the upcoming Malta AI & Blockchain Summit where we can interact with industry leaders and like-minded professionals working in the industries we support.

Additionally, our partnership with Rocksteady Digital Agency allows us to offer 24-hour IT support, and a very active marketing campaign, even offering employer branded videos for our exclusive clients.

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Written By :

Ben Pace Lehner

Co-founder and IT Director of Broadwing Employment Agency. I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities and challenges with a special interest in the HR, IT, Corporate and iGaming sectors.

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