4.4 Type of Employment
The vast majority (about 95%) of both males and females are wage and salary earners, with very few being self-employed or employers. This proportion is much higher than the average Australian- or European born (about 81%) and higher than most other ethnic groups. It would appear that the Maltese prefer the peace of mind that is associated with a regular (if somewhat limited) income rather than have the responsibilities of being employers or even self-employed. In this respect, they are more like the Australian or English speaking migrants (Castles 1989 p 28).
A look at the Labour Force Survey 1987 shows that there is a relative increase in the proportion of Maltese plant and machine operators and labourers, with a reduction in the proportion of managers administrators, professional and para-professonal persons, as well as in clerical, sales and service professions. There is however a marked increase in the proportion of tradespersons (25%) compared with the Australian- (15%) or European-born (20%) population.
Maltese-born are employed primarily by the manufacturing industries (38%) and to a lesser extent in the wholesale/retail trade (20%) and transport and related industries (13%). In all instances, Maltese workers are over-represented in these industries. The proportion in the transport/storage and communications industries is higher for Maltese than for any other ethnic group.
The recent survey carried out by OMA (1989) shows that the proportion of Maltese employed as wage and salary earners (73%) is much higher than in the general population sample (57%) or the sample from NESB persons (60%).
Job stability is one characteristic feature of employed Maltese workers. Over 53% were found to have stayed in the current job for over 6 years. (This figure compares with 42% for the general sample and 4517( for the sample from NESB persons - OMA 1989). Only 10% were found to have been in the current job for less than 1 year, which is about half the proportion for the general and NESB sample (21% and 171,7f respectively).
These findings support the comments of O'Malley (1978, p 47):
At a broad level this pattern of migrant deployment may be illustrated by referring to the distribution of income and occupational levels among Australian born and overseas-born workers ... Migrants from Mediterranean countries are disproportionately represented in the 'blue-collar' occupations. While fewer than half of Australian-born male workers are employed in blue-collar positions, well over two-thirds of Mediterranean migrants are in such occupations. For female workers the disparity is even greater - the proportion of Mediterranean-born workers who occupy blue collar positions being five or six times the equivalent proportion of Australian born employees.
Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990