Usage of Social Media 2022 – A misco Report

As the usage of internet nudges further upwards in Malta, reaching 87.5% according to data published by the National Statistics Office, usage of online social networks increases as well. Of those that have access to internet, 95% browse the internet and 85% access online social networks at least once a day.

misco has just published the results of the fourth edition of the Social Media Usage Trends survey which will enable readers to understand the behaviours and attitudes of respondents in relation to social media. The results of a survey conducted in association with the Ornate Group, show that trends are consolidating themselves.

While Facebook is still the social media network which is most accessed, there is a trend of increased usage of Instagram and YouTube. While the percentage of respondents accessing Facebook remained fairly stable since 2018, the percentage of those accessing YouTube and Instagram, has increased.

Rebecca Gera, Director of misco, commented that, “The results of this year’s survey, which is the fourth wave of such a survey, could have been influenced by the coronavirus. However one also notes a return to behaviours seen pre-COVID. One needs to see what future waves indicate, that is whether usage of social media will evolve into a new normal or whether it will return to pre-COVID days”.

The use of certain apps, such as social networking apps, productivity apps (such as bank apps, time organiser apps, etc), entertainment apps  and retail apps, is increasing. Overall one notes an increase in the usage of most categories of apps. This survey also confirmed the view that emerged in previous waves, namely that the Maltese are passive consumers of social media. 61% respondents to the survey just look at other persons’ content and comments, without doing further action such as sharing content or creating new content. Only 11% create new material and content on the social media and 45% share contents and comments they come across.

A part of the survey focussed on advertising. The results are showing that exposure to offline advertising is decreasing while exposure to online advertising is increasing. 66% stated that they are exposed to offline advertising, down from 86% in 2018, while 91% stated that they are exposed to online advertising, up from 80% in 2018.

Respondents were asked where they prefer to watch / hear / read advertisements. In this wave of the survey social media have overtaken television as the preferred medium. While there was a spike in 2021 for both media, the longer-term trend sows a slight decline for television and a slight increase for social media, to the point that 38% prefer to watch / hear / read advertisements on social media and 34% prefer television. Radio comes third. There is an evident decline for magazines and an increase for e-mail. Overall 54% prefer to watch / hear / read advertisements on online media compared to 45% in 2018, while 63% prefer offline media, compared to 73% in 2018.

76% of respondents stated that they shop online. This is a slight increase over 2021 but is lower than the level achieved in 2020. Looking at longer term trends, the 2022 data sows an increase in online shoppers for clothing footwear and accessories, grocery products, make-up, beauty care products, healthcare products, and personal care products, car insurance and home appliances. The purchase of airline tickets and hotel stays has not yet recovered from the restrictions related to COVID.

Andrew Zammit-Manduca, founder of the Ornate Group, said that, “Online marketing has now become mainstream marketing alongside with offline marketing, and these results confirm this trend. Businesses therefore need to devote the appropriate resources to ensure a good return on investment from their marketing expenditure”.

A copy of the report can obtained by sending an email to [email protected] with a request for a copy of the report.

Giving Rookies a Chance: The Benefits of Recruiting Fresh Graduates

Thrown into the world of work and professionalism, fresh graduates must navigate their way through the first shaky steps of their career. With this in mind, companies may take it upon themselves to guide them through this process as many benefits may be reaped.

Most companies shy away from recruiting candidates with little to no experience, as they are afraid that without the related knowledge, they will not be able to grasp the role properly. Reality is that although fresh graduates might be lacking in the job experience department, , this could be compensated through other benefits. Starting off, they may bring new views, perspectives and opinions to the company which could be a fresh change of pace. They are also ready to learn and absorb new experiences, which comes with great enthusiasm to listen to their superiors.

The lack of experience may also be an advantage. The new recruits can be taught the company’s culture and ways without them having any pre-conceived ideas of what should occur. This way, the company’s training representative is able to teach them new techniques without having to remove the pre-conditioned methods that other companies may adopt.

Since the recruits are at the beginning of their career, they may take the role very seriously as they are willing to create an identity for themselves within the company. This ambition may allow them to pay closer attention to their work as to ensure they are meeting the company’s standards and also show their new perspectives in doing so.

Due to their recent graduation, their knowledge should also be up-to-date! The new methods that were taught to them may allow them to be more efficient in their work and they may also be more knowledgeable on the ever-changing technology within a workplace.

Lastly, hiring fresh graduates may also benefit the company in the financial sense. As they are new to the industry and lacking in experience, the salaries offered would reflect this. Their goal would usually be to gain on-the-job knowledge and therefore would not have high expectations when it comes to compensation. Of course, this should not be an excuse to underpay the new recruits but rather just a cost-effective approach to consider.

There are various ways that you may adopt a fresh graduate into a company. Following the selection and recruitment process, one must keep in mind that certain soft skills must be taught during the induction process. Employers should understand that most people who have just completed their studies tend to have limited exposure to office experience and therefore may not know how to go about proper office etiquette and formal email communication.

Integration may also happen by on the job shadowing. A mentor may be assigned to the new recruit as so on-going development is created through training. The goal of on-the-job training would be to assist them in finding and developing a future of the recruit within a company, which could also fashion a sense of loyalty and would lessen employee turnover.

All in all, it is easy to say that recent graduates may be at the bottom of the shortlist due to their inexperience, but this may not always be the case. The new perspectives and skills that can be brought to the table could be a great potential benefit for the business’s long term!


Thea Bharwani Scicluna, Trainee Executive

Retaining the Maltese Workforce

Year on year, an annual study conducted by misco outlines a strategic importance for retaining staff within the HR function. With the labour market becoming ever more competitive, the need to retain talented employees and avoid losing them to competitors is critical for businesses’ success. Globally, a correlation has been noted between organisations’ success and their ability to maximise the turnover of valuable employees. For several reasons, employee loyalty is decreasing, and many are not afraid to hunt for better opportunities. By analysing several factors that impact retention and could potentially lead to turnover, businesses can tailor their employer brand and thrive from the competitive advantage gained.

When implemented right, an organisation’s employer brand has the potential to offer numerous dimensions of value that in turn can impact the retention of employees. Considering that one of the top key challenges Maltese entities are faced with in the HR area is lack of experienced applicants, it is inevitable that companies should prioritise employees’ interests and strive to maximise turnover.

Although many would argue that turnover is dependent on the next best salary offered, employee retention is more complex than just the renumeration given. Particularly in industries which are extremely competitive when acquiring employees, it is very easy to lose talented staff to a slightly better financial package if there is nothing else that ties the employees to their current employer. On a global level, several countries are experiencing record rates of low retention paired with a low number of employees that feel connected to the company’s mission. In fact, various scholars argue that the development value and the management value offered within an organisation’s employer brand are crucial for retaining employees.

The latest job trends study conducted by misco concludes that employee recognition and orientation rank first as the company values that appeal to employees the most whereas monetary gain and rewards rank fourth. This outlined importance of employee acknowledgment and recognition highlight the significance of prioritising the managerial value offered by organisations. The behaviours and attitudes of superiors can also strongly impact employees’ motivation and retention. Employee development and enhancement ranked second in this Maltese study which further stresses the impact of the development value offered and the degree to which personal enhancement is facilitated.

As employers and managers, it would be foolish to assume that earning money is not one of employees’ top reasons behind their job. Although we should all strive to make sure this is not the top and sole priority for employees by building on loyalty and motivation, the importance of the economic dimension implemented within entities’ employer brand is inevitable. It is crucial to understand however that this dimension is more than just the salary offered. In addition to several perks and benefits that entities could offer including fuel allowances and gym memberships, the company’s reputation and the level of job stability employees are offered, could all still form part of the economic value provided that impact the overall retention of employees. According to misco’s survey, flexible hours and medical insurance are considered important organisational perks by most employees.

As concluded in this job trends survey, although the majority of Maltese employees are not actively looking but they would be open to new opportunities, only around one in ten employees change jobs every two years or more frequently. Maximising turnover does not mean retaining employees up until retirement age. Especially in this day and age, considering that most employees change jobs every six years or less frequently can be considered as a win against turnover. By making our HR goals realistic and thus attainable, entities can strive from a targeted employer brand that can help them tackle their key challenges effectively.


Kirsty Micallef, Senior Executive

Entrepreneurial Skills

We have often heard employers complaining that persons joining the labour market with any level of education, lack a number of soft skills, one of which is thinking skills. The level of education of the individual does not seem to have any effect on one’s ability to think critically. I have covered this topic some weeks ago.

Persons who eventually take on a more senior role seem to lack another skill to which CEO’s tend to attach importance. This is entrepreneurial skills. One may feel that entrepreneurial skills are for entrepreneurs and not for employed managers, even those at a senior level. An entrepreneur is someone who, through his or her skills and passion, creates a business and is willing to take full accountability for its success or failure.

The role of an employed leader is not seen to be this, as he or she may need to ask for approval to make certain changes in the company’s processes, product design or just about any innovation one needs to implement. However the pace of change in the external environment is making it necessary for employed leaders to utilize their skill, passion and innovation to manage or create something useful for someone else’s business… with entrepreneurial zest.

Moreover one needs to make a clear distinction between a speculator and an entrepreneur. Speculators often consider themselves entrepreneurs, when they are not. The main distinction between them is that a speculator thinks short-term while an entrepreneur thinks long term. The entrepreneur is capable of giving due importance to the common good, while a speculator could not care less about any negative impact on society and other individuals from one’s economic activity.

In Malta we have had attempts to inculcate entrepreneurship in young people. The most notable example, which has indeed been very successful and beneficial, is Young Enterprise, which seeks to help young persons to “learn skills by doing”.

Although this programme, which was set up some 33 years ago, has reached out to more than 10,000 students, it is still not enough. This is not a deficiency of the programme; it is rather an issue of a lack of interest by young people. They still do not recognise fully the importance of entrepreneurial skills, especially since creativity and innovation are not subjects for which one sits for an examination.

Our education system may be very good at churning out administrators. These are persons who are unhappy to take risks, are not creative at all, approach problems with a narrow vision, try to solve problems by the book, like a secure and comfortable work environment, and excel at having everything organised. However it is not yet churning out entrepreneurs.

One may ask what makes an entrepreneur, even if one is employed, since the entrepreneur is not a speculator and much less an administrator? I tend to describe an entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial manager as someone who has the expertise in the area, which expertise may have been obtained through experience and not necessarily through academic qualifications.

In addition the person is someone who is passionate about what they are doing, and that passion arises from reasons that go beyond money. The entrepreneur also has vision and can recognise opportunities that are still not visible on the horizon. The expertise and the vision most often led to the development of products and services which are unique. Lastly, the entrepreneur understands and appreciates quality and excellence. Unfortunately, quoting Steve Jobs, “some people are not used to an environment where excellence is expected.

In Malta we all recognise that we need to build new sectors in our economy. We simply cannot hope that the economic activities which we have today will continue to yield the results which they have yielded in the past years. We also know that to develop new sectors take years. The economic activities of which we are so proud today did not happen overnight and have their roots dating back years, also decades.

The development of new economic sectors requires Maltese persons to have entrepreneurial skills, and we certainly do not need speculators who are after the quick buck or administrators.


Lawrence Zammit, Director

Reducing Stress at the Workplace

Any employer or employee within an organisation may at times feel under pressure. Although some pressure can be healthy for an organisation, this can become excessive and lead to work-related stress if not handled properly. This in return can have an impact on productivity, overall behaviour and general physical health  including having difficulties in concentrating as well as affecting ones mood by becoming withdrawn, aggressive or unmotivated whilst creating anxiety.

Different people have different ways of dealing with stress, and what works with one person might not work with another. We wanted to share some tips on how one can deal with stress more effectively.


  1. Changing the situation

Many of us seem to put ourselves into situations that we know will ultimately cause us distress. Avoiding distressful situations means that we have to know what causes us to feel most distressed. It is helpful to spend time thinking about the things, situations and events that personally stress us. Anything that causes us to feel anxious, frightened, angry or frustrated is a potential stressor and should be included in the list.

Once we have listed the potential stressors in our lives, we can examine them objectively to see if there are any we can actively avoid and/or change. For example, if at the time you leave home from work is the worst time for traffic, consider trying to leave earlier or later if possible to avoid this issue. All of us have the power to organise our lives to minimise distress – all it takes is a little forethought and the will to do so.


  1. Organise yourself

One method that can help you to reduce stress at the workplace is to organise yourself and set goals for your daily tasks and responsibilities. You also need to give yourself some time to take a break, eat and rest. This also includes a dimension of your work planning by finding a good balance between work and your private life including family and social activities.


  1. Exercise

Increasing your level of personal fitness will do a great deal to overcome stress. This is good for your health and can be a stress reliever as well as help you increase energy, sharpen focus and relax both your mind and body. Exercise does not necessarily mean practicing a sport, but can also include going for a walk or jog a few times weekly or going for a swim.


  1. Maintain a balanced diet

Food can also affect your behaviour at work. Healthy eating helps you get through stressful work days. In fact, the necessary feel and support that you need for the success of your work lies in the level of sugar in your blood. This is why eating small portions throughout the day can help you during your working hours.


  1. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and coffee

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. Excessive consumption of these substances is not recommended for people under stress because they can cause a rapid heartbeat which may create anxiety.


How we cope with stress is very much a matter of individual preference and action. One person may find that bungee jumping is a perfect tension reliever, whilst another would feel ill just at the thought.

Each of us needs to find ideas that work.


Josianne Avellino, Senior Manager

What goes around, comes around: A take on employee recognition

Have you ever pondered on what truly motivates an employee at their workplace? Of course, different people have varying priorities, such as one’s salary and benefits or work hours, but there may be underlying factors that employers might not even realise are the key to a low turnover and a cohesive company culture.

Employee recognition in itself is quite a simple notion. The concept is based on recognising your fellow colleagues for a job well done. This small gesture in turn, reinforces several behaviours and practices through positive reinforcement, leading to a constructive workplace environment. We must all realise that being acknowledged is a form of respect that motivates us to want to do better.

The power of positive feedback is one that has often been discussed from a psychological perspective. We as human beings thrive off needing to be valued, seen, and appreciated as so we are able to feel worthy and recognised. This very much plays into our professional lives as in reality, this is where we spend 65% of our time. A company’s culture can be built on the employee’s respect which successively creates a common goal that everyone would work towards.

There are many benefits to creating a personalised employee experience, such as motivating employees to do their best (as to attain a certain standard of work within the company) or bettered employee retention, resulting in a lower turn over and longer lasting workplace relationships. These two factors, paired with positive and personalized work relationships, create a more cohesive and closer work environment that employees thrive in. Lastly, efficient performance, in turn, results in enhanced skills through continuous practice, leading to improved productivity of the company.

There are several ways to show employee appreciation and recognition, such as offering a word of thanks upon a finished task. Continuous improvement and dedication can also be awarded with certain physical gifts such as a personalised card, voucher or even a performance bonus. Every token of appreciation counts. Respect can even be showed by acknowledging extra effort that was put into a project or even approaching an employee regarding their progress and offering a helping hand. Creating a company culture that promotes such a notion can also lead to boosted employee morale and productivity.

Implementation of such a notion is quite simple to execute, especially with an employee recognition plan set in place. One must ensure that when passing on a word of appreciation, it should be timely, as so it truly carries meaning with it.  The devil is in the details when it comes to providing feedback, therefore one must be specific with the words given. The appreciation must actually be tied to an achievement rather than them being empty words as to truly make a difference within the company culture.

During a study conducted by misco, employees were asked what company values appeal to them the most.  Employee Orientation and Recognition was the most popular option, coming first at 69%! This shows how companies should create personalized experiences for their employees which will in turn help build a unified culture as and attract prospective candidates (Job Seekers’ Behaviour and Expectations, 2021, misco).

Positive reinforcement starts from base, specifically one’s company culture. Once the foundation of engagement and recognition is built, a culture of skill improvement, retention and people development is created.


Thea Bharwani Scicluna, Trainee Executive

Where have the past 34 years gone!

I started my working career during a time when you were expected to get a job and stay with that company until you retired.  It was considered the norm to be with the same company your entire career.  So when someone asks me how long I have been working at misco they, are amazed when I say an odd 34 years..since 1988. If I could read their minds, I am sure they are saying one of these:  how loyal/how boring/have you never had other opportunities?

People my age took the ‘loyalty’ issue much more seriously than nowadays.  If you are happy at your place of work, why would you leave and go elsewhere? Even when faced with other opportunities, one would hesitate before being ‘disloyal’. In any case, why fix something which is not broken?

Working within the same company for a long time means you become knowledgeable about the tasks, workflows, and systems at your job – as long as you keep in line with changing environment both inside the office and outside! It also means that when one needs to refer to something from the olden times – as my much younger colleagues call it –  they  come to me.

Yes, I have seen a LOT of changes within the company during my time at misco. I’ve seen so many employees come and go, but I’m still here! So, what’s my story? Isn’t going to the same offices, doing more or less the same chores, meeting the same people year in year out…boring!

I can easily say that during my 34 years at misco, things were continually changing both from a work and a personal aspect so the ‘boredom’ factor did not really have time to set in.

Let us take it from a technological point of view. I always worked within an administrative role, so when I joined misco in the latter part of the 80s it was the start of the age of electronic typewriters – which were soon to be replaced by the computer. The fax machine which had replaced the ‘telex’ was soon taken over by scanning and emails. I joined in the age of non-mobile telephony, so calling people would always have to be when they are at home. Imagine that today! The mobile phone and being ‘in when you are out’ was something which one heard about but wondered about the telephone cable! Photocopiers were basic and any sorting would be done manually. Thankfully, we had the long tables used for training which made collating so much easier. Nowadays keeping soft copies is preferred to paper, so even the photocopier is soon becoming something of the past.

Of course, internet and emailing did not exist during my first few years at misco but I was there when they were introduced. I remember the first computer entering misco offices in Valletta, and this was to be shared by quite a few people! What a far cry from laptops on everyone’s desk today, and the incredible change and fast pace that internet has got with it.

Once all these new technologies took over, there really was no stopping it. How could I ever get bored!

Having been at misco for such a long time also meant that I was passed on some duties of other people who might have moved on, thus rendering my job continually in a state of evolving – which is a godsend, as doing the same chores can get to you.  Taking on new duties obviously also allows you to learn and absorb new things whilst keeping you still interested in your work.

I have seen more people come and go at misco than most other people in the office today, except for the founding director. I was with misco when we changed offices from Valletta to Mriehel so it is easy for me to look back and see the great improvements that the company did in this respect.

But are all the things above what keeps a person at the same employment over so many years?

No. To me life is not just your work. In my case I brought up two kids during my time with misco; during a time when nurseries were practically nonexistent so one would need to depend on the flexibility of your employers for reduced hours, and even more flexibility during school holidays. Nowadays, these working conditions are more structured and accepted since the majority of mothers still remain working. I have taken my kids to work after school to do their homework until I would be able to leave and go home and carry on with other chores. I was allowed the flexibility of working reduced hours to be able to handle their extracurricular activities, so again…Why change something which works?

Obviously, there are cons of staying in the same job for years. One can become complacent too and unless one grows to higher levels within one’s own company, it could be considered that you are lacking in wanting career advancement. 

Maybe the fact that I am a product of my age group, when career advancement was maybe given second preference to being more ‘there’  for the kids is what kept me from changing jobs, and hence my lack of regret at having been at the same place of work for so many years.


Marthese Spiteri Gonzi, Office Administrator

The Nightmare of Office Politics

An issue that is acquiring importance for the human resources function is employee wellness. A number of employers are taking initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles among employees. When we speak of healthy lifestyles, we are not referring only to gym memberships or green smoothies. That would be reducing employee wellness just to its physical dimension. We can talk of a number of other dimensions such as intellectual wellness, environmental wellness, and financial wellness.

However, most probably the most important dimension is emotional wellness at work. Towards the middle of last year I had written a contribution on the subject of employee wellness. I met a client sometime after who pointed out that there is an aspect of employee wellness related to the emotional dimension about which an employer can do very little.

He was referring to office politics and, in his own words, “the nightmare of office politics”. At some point or other we have all had to contend with the office colleague who tries to take credit for the work we would have done; the office colleague who seeks to bully everyone including one’s boss; the office colleague who conveniently forgets to pass on essential information to you; the office colleague who reports office gossip to the boss; the office colleague who is never there when needed; the office colleague who discriminates against you because you are more capable. The list can be endless.

All such situations and others like them cause employees a great deal of stress and anxiety and any employer can do next to nothing about them. These situations affect our mental state, have an enormous effect on our emotional well-being, and lead to demotivation, and possibly an urge to look for a job elsewhere.

I have had HR managers telling me that staff has moved on, not because of a negative situation caused by the company’s senior management, but because of an unbearable situation caused by the employees, their peers.

The defence mechanism adopted by employees against this can take various shapes and forms. Affected employees try to keep very much to themselves during the working day. Others have stopped attending company social events to avoid contact. Others speak to friends or gossip about it in the hope that the boss gets to know in an indirect way.

However nothing seems to work and unfortunately employers are at a loss about what to do. Even confronting such despicable persons does not seem to work as they are so good at playing the docile innocent lamb. They even try to make you feel that you are imagining things and that you are being hypersensitive.

How can we deal with such a nightmare? Persons responsible for the HR function need to appreciate that HR is not only about employee development, or employee recruitment, or how can management motivate employees. Managers do a great deal to create a balance between the need to achieve results and the need to maintain healthy relationships at work, even if they do not always manage.

Persons responsible for the HR function need to start assessing relationships among staff. They need to be more aware of how the emotional well-being of their staff depends also on how staff interact among themselves. The nightmare of office politics leads to a loss in productivity and an increase in staff turnover to a much greater extent than we think.


Lawrence Zammit, Director

Work Relationships Matter

The ‘need to belong’ relates to a human emotional need. The pandemic has played a full game with our mental health. A common shared factor that most of us have experienced is that we did miss out on meeting people, from gym mates and work colleagues to friends and family members. One might argue that some of us might even lost that sense that we are part of something.

The feeling of belonging is more than just working in a team. A team player is committed to the idea of mutual support, teamwork, and flexibility in completing tasks. A team player is also one that fits in easily, and quickly becomes an effective contributor to the team. Let us consider that as a good start. Team players communicate and use their strengths to support other members of the team. They are not afraid to ask others for help for their own weak areas. Leadership becomes a natural process if there is good team spirit amongst those who are being led.

Several have been questioning if we can build a team when working remotely. Can we? Do we still feel the need to belong? Let us start by appreciating that deciding to have a remote team is a big step for an organisation and the common mistake is when we assume that this is something trivial and can be accomplished overnight.

True, it can be accomplished indeed – but what are the aftermath implications we must deal with if we do not plan this? Building the organisational culture has always been a challenging task. Creating a strong company culture for teams working remotely is not even more challenging – that comes secondary, but is crucial and necessary. It is a must have! One may think that the smiling faces that we see during online meetings demonstrates job satisfaction and engagement, but is this a good measurement of this? How are employees feeling when the camera is off? How are we making sure that they are staying motivated throughout the working day?

Overcoming the communication challenges is a good start. Using the appropriate tools to build on that should follow. Employees are more likely to feel engaged, are more productive and perceive more value in their work. Work relationships matter.


Ritienne Xerri, Director

The Importance of Psychometric Assessments

Human instinct is after all, quite subjective. Nowadays, most business leaders make decisions that are backed up by data and market research, and therefore psychometric assessments play an important role in helping companies identify high potential in employees throughout all stages of the employment cycle – be it internal promotion, team building, personal development, or recruitment. When recruiting, one wrong decision may cost a company large amounts of money due to lost productivity. In fact, nowadays, the use of psychometric assessments during the selection process is on the rise across several different sectors.

misco is in partnership with a UK company aiming to offer a range of psychometrics to the local business community. Profile:Match2 Assessments are a range of psychometrics which are easy to use and interpret and cover the whole employee lifecycle. This tool also allows for flexibility in choosing the competencies required for the job and assessing different areas as necessary.

From time to time, we conduct online workshops where we discuss Psychometric Assessments, their application, and the benefits of using these tools to assess candidates’ personality scientifically.  Each participant also has the opportunity of trying out an assessment for free.

The workshops assist HR professionals in understanding how to make the best decisions by identifying the ‘must have’ competencies of a role, as well as on how to use psychometrics to develop talent internally for personal development and create the opportunity to improve competencies and interpersonal performance. This is useful as all HR professionals look at individuals through their own eyes and make decisions based on personal subjective perceptions. However, the psychometric process helps add an objective dimension to this.

Follow misco Malta on LinkedIn and Facebook in order to be informed about future workshops coming up in the near future.

For more information and queries about misco’s Profile Match Workshop, or, if you wish to try out our assessments, feel free to contact Sara Anne Galea at MISCO on 22054513 or via email on [email protected]

Sara Anne Galea, Executive