Malta’s average gross annual basic salary increased by just €140 between 2018 and 2020 but male workers suffered a drop in income to the tune of €308 annually.  This loss in revenue was offset by an increase of €750 in the annual wages of female employees.

These figures were divulged in a study published by the National Statistics Office which analysed key indicators in Malta’s demography, labour market, education, economy, transport, tourism, agriculture, fisheries and resources.

It transpires that over a two-year period from 2018 to 2020 the average basic bay increased from €18,773 per year to €18,913. This amount represents the money earned prior to tax and social security contributions and excludes overtime, bonuses and allowances.  

The NSO data goes into further detail and gives a regional breakdown of the average annual salaries from which it results that in 2020 workers living in the western region (Ħad-Dingli; Ħal Balzan; Ħal Lija; Ħ’Attard; Ħaż-Żebbuġ; L-Iklin; L-Imdina; L-Imtarfa; Ir-Rabat; Is-Siġġiewi) earned the highest annual salaries at €20,845. This amount is significantly higher than the respective figure for the lowest ranked region – 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) where the average basic annual wage was of €17,362 – a discrepancy of €3,483 per year or €290.25 monthly.

A further analysis carried out by Voice of the Workers Weekly reveals huge regional discrepancies in the basic annual pay in just two years. During the period under review male workers in the northern region (Ħal Għargħur; Il-Mellieħa; L-Imġarr; Il-Mosta; In-Naxxar; San Pawl Il-Baħar) suffered a drastic drop in their basic income, from €21,338 in 2018 to €19,104 in 2020 which translates to €2,234 annually or 10.5%. However, female workers in the same region had a much smaller drop with the respective annual figure being €295. No reason is given by the NSO for this trend, though it is understood that Covid-19 had an overall effect especially for workers in the tourism, retail, catering and entertainment industry.  Though male workers had a drop in their basic annual salary in all regions except the southern harbour, this was much more contained and varied between €44 in Gozo and €659 in the Western region.

Interestingly, female workers fared much better as only those in the northern harbour and northern regions registered a drop in their annual salary, which was only marginal.

Though the NSO report does not cover 2021, these figures do not bode well for workers as this worrying trend coincided with the sharp rise in the cost of living. Consequently, the spending power was being eroded on two fronts – higher prices and lower income.

A full breakdown of the data is given in the table below outlining the variations in the average gross annual basic pay across regions between 2018 and 2020.

Diff 2018-2020Males  €Females €Total €
Malta and Gozo–           308             750          140
Malta (exc Gozo)–           343             694            98
Southern Harbour             751          1,345          941
Northern Harbour–              27–           143–           64
South Eastern–           110          3,103       1,240
Western–           659             603–        247
Northern–        2,234–           295–     1,257
Gozo and Comino–              44          1,531          656