Media: iGaming jobs in Malta bounce back to pre-Covid levels

Originally published: Sigma World, September 2021

Boston Link survey reveals an influx of new, MGA-licensed operators setting up business in Malta, despite COVID-19. 

The trend for iGaming jobs in Malta is on a growth spurt as, during the first quarter of 2021, the number of new jobs created was consistently above pre-COVID-19 levels, as the island sees a return to the busy hub it is known to be, with live iGaming events also back.

The encouraging news was revealed by the latest iGaming Salary survey, conducted by specialist recruitment company Boston Link. The survey, which is considered an industry benchmark, refers to the Malta iGaming jobs market as “particularly resilient”, with statistics finding a considerable 6% Year on Year increase, continued demand for data-led skill sets, and greater focus on compliance and regulatory roles.

iGaming job salaries are also on an upward curve, especially for senior positions, with senior management roles and CEOs earning a fraction more than they did the previous year.

Boston Link Managing Director Julian Perigo attributes this to the fact that, at a high level, the iGaming industry was not really impacted by the pandemic, and that “the demand for talent remains strong”.

But the rich pickings are not limited to executive and C-level roles, as even specialist roles like dev ops, legal and compliance teams also commanding higher wages.

And, with legal and compliance continuing to take on an even more vital role, and more and more markets undergoing tighter regulations, roles that require a specific skillset are even more in demand as companies find that they need to employ more people with more specialist skills at a high level.

iGaming jobs Malta - industry has matured 

We reached out to Barry Malone, Boston Link’s Senior Consultant, to find out more about why iGaming jobs in Malta have defeated COVID-19 expectations.

“There are many reasons iGaming jobs in Malta are still the most coveted,” he explains. “The obvious ones being that it is the gateway to Europe and beyond and it also enjoys fantastic weather and an advantageous tax system.”

But, he adds, the reasons why the industry has proven to be so resilient in the toughest of times go beyond those. Malta also boasts a strong talent pool, compared to other areas such as Bulgaria and Tallinn, where resources tend to be quite junior.

“The industry itself is also more mature. iGaming jobs in Malta have been growing strong for the past 17 years, and in fact many companies choose to base their core staff on the island to tap into that pool. Malta is an attractive country for relocation and can guarantee a strong infrastructure, good schooling, universal English language… It is also easier to connect and to form networks, in general,” Barry adds.

Asked why iGaming jobs in Malta would present a bigger pull than, say, in Cyprus or Gibraltar, the reply is straightforward: salaries can be a lot more competitive here. However, he warns, the days when headhunted candidates could name their number are long gone, and the market has now stabilized.

“iGaming is a niche that will always require a select talent pool, but the demand outweighs the need and volume, which means that with more mainstream roles, the salaries will align. Nowadays there is more transparency, and more job-hopping, so people can compare – whereas before, when it was a fledgling industry, the start ups were shooting figures in the dark. Now, even the companies have matured. Everyone has learnt their lessons and HR and acquisition teams tend to benchmark internal structures with the long-term in mind, rather than the quick fire hire.”

According to Boston Link findings, job candidates’ approach when job-hunting has likewise matured, with salary no longer being the only determining factor. When it comes to iGaming jobs in Malta, prospective employees are usually looking at how sustainable a company is, what the vision is and whether remote work – or at least a hybrid option – is offered.

In terms of which jobs are most in demand, compliance has increased exponentially in importance throughout the past 18 months, which means that this represents a growth area that is unlikely to slow down. Thus, roles within customer due diligence, responsible gaming, digital and tech will continue seeing an increase in demands, especially with the focus on emerging and new markets, and their regulation.

According to Boston Link, forecasts for iGaming jobs in Malta throughout the rest of 2021 include a greater push for employee benefits and a shift from traditional company events like Friday beers to Work From Home benefits, as 90% of survey respondent feedback indicated a wish to work remotely at least part of the time for the rest of their working lives. Seventy percent are in fact already working fully or partially remotely.

Moreover, existing MGA-licensed businesses are expanding and, despite any travel restrictions, new operators continue to pick Malta as their hub, making for an even rosier outlook.