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Businesses should listen more to their employees if they want to stem the flow of private-sector workers moving to the public sector, according to one recruitment agency.

Earlier this week, the Malta Employers Association, The Malta Chamber, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association and the Gozo Business Chamber released a joint statement in which they urged the Government to put a stop to the “drain” of human resources from the private sector.

The four constituted bodies said businesses were becoming more and more concerned by the phenomenon of employees resigning haphazardly to take up what is perceived to be a more secure job with less work pressure in Government entities.

“Some companies are having to reduce their operations as a result of a shortage of manpower. Many have to resort to replacing Maltese employees lost to the public sector with other nationalities,” they said.

But according to Lara Camilleri, Chief Operations Officer of recruitment firm Konnekt, businesses themselves could do more to retain their staff.

“People might argue that the most obvious solution would be to increase salaries, but the current situation, with costs constantly rising, means this isn’t always feasible,” she said, adding that increased job security and lighter workload were major factors in the private-to-public migration.

“Instead, companies could do something as simple as listening to their employees more. This is something businesses talk a lot about, but they don’t always follow up their words with actions. To increase employee retention, maybe we need to switch from asking ‘What makes employees leave?’ to ‘What makes employees stay?’

“This kind of survey is something a business of any size can do,” she said.

Meanwhile, a representative from fellow recruitment company M Recruitment was more direct:

“It seems like values and ethics have gone out the window in recent times,” she said.

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