4.12 What are the factors that are associated with unemployment?
Attempts have been made by several workers to identify those factors that correlate most strongly with unemployment. The AIMA Report "Reducing the Risk' (1985 p 308) identified gender and level of education as the most significant positive factors affecting Maltese employment prospects: females had 3.53% greater risk of being unemployed, (and 5.91% greater for those leaving school below the age of 15 years). Those resident in Australia for less than 2 years had 7.56% greater chance of being unemployed. Negative factors (i.e. reducing unemployment) were: qualifications (10.09%), being married (8.46%) and being in the 20 - 24 age group (4.78%). In view of the poor educational achievement of Maltese Youth (see chapter on Education), one cannot but feel worried about the employment Prospects of second generation Maltese youths. In fact, data available shows that second generation Maltese youths' employment patterns follow much more closely their parents' than the average Australian norm. In particular, females are most likely to be at a disadvantage in view of the fact that unlike Maltese males, very few of them consider a trade or apprenticeship.
How long does the disadvantage last? The disturbing finding in several studies is that the second generation is not doing nearly as well as the average Australian population. In the case of the Maltese, there is a much closer resemblance to the first generation rather than to the Australian average. This persistence of disadvantage has been emphasised by several workers.
" ... Migrants' (disadvantages often persist well past the initial settlement period and that there are many migrants long resident in the country whose welfare is cause for concern and action" (Australian Population and Immigration Council 1976).
Lever pointed out that "The proportion of migrants in certain, mainlylow status manual occupations is rising noticeably faster than is their proportion in the population." indicating that disadvantage is actually increasing. Another detailed study by Jean Martin (1976) shows that the migrants' economic conditions did not improve automatically with increased length of residence in Australia. The data relating to Maltese in Australia tends to confirm these statements.
In spite of the documented evidence in census studies of poor economic performance by the average Maltese migrant, it is the personal experience of the author as well as social workers working in the Maltese community that on the whole the average Maltese family is doing reasonably well. it is sufficient to tour the suburbs where Maltese form the majority of overseas born and look inside their houses to see that the average Maltese is proud of his/her castle with no evidence of deprivation' One cannot help conclude that a lot of work and effort was spent in building and caring for the family home. The "unemployed" Maltese housewife has spent a lot of time on the house as indeed is to be expected in any house in Malta. In fact, the "income unit" would appear to be a far better reflection of the level of economic status of the Maltese family than the individual income would indicate.
To be noted also is the fact that most Maltese families own their home,, that the average Maltese can fix most problems in the house, be it tiling, plastering, electrical wiring, gardening, in most cases even actually building it with the help of friends and relatives. They can grow at least some of their vegetables. They can fix their car. They do not drink and socialise in pubs. In general, they bring with them the frugal way of life which is and has historically always been the norm in Malta.
Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990