Malta is a small island that faces many of the same issues as the rest of the world concerning an ageing labor force and a lack of opportunity for its older citizens. As the number of people who are no longer considered employable due to their age increases, they must rely on the pension system for their support. The problem is that pensions in Malta are not adequate to replace their former salaries, leaving many older Maltese citizens in poverty. The aim of this research is to explore solutions to this problem, including to increase the employability of Malta’s aging citizens so that they do not have to depend on the system.

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Research Questions
This research will explore the following research questions to support the aims of the study.
What are the barriers to employment for older Maltese citizens?
How can barriers to employment for older Maltese citizens be removed?
What effect would employing older Maltese citizens have on the overall status of pensions?
What effect would employing older Maltese citizens have on reducing poverty among this population?

Background
Only about 30 percent of workers who are pre-retirement age (60-64) are employed (Hurley, n.d.). Changes in the age distribution have affected the entire European Union (Hurley, n.d.). This has forced many businesses to consider options such as phased retirement, or other options to keep workers in the labor force for a longer period of time. Employment rates of older persons has been growing in the European Union as a whole, but rates are low in Malta, relative to other countries (Hurley, n.d.). Malta needs to find a way to increase employment among pre-retirement aged citizens and those who have already reached retirement age.

Related Literature
At the end of 2012, nearly 24 percent of Malta’s population were over 60 years old (Formosa, 2014). By 2035, this population is expected to increase to 44 percent of the population (Formosa, 2014). This makes the problem of solving the issue of employability among this population urgent. The problem must be resolved now, because it only promises to become worse in the future. Employability is a result of the market orientation of society, not the person’s self-efficacy or self-concept (Kadefors, 2010). The perception of the employability of an individual might not be a reflection of the actual employability of the individual. Society’s concepts about ageing play a large role in employer perceptions.

Physical barriers related to ageing are considered an impairment to the employability of older persons (Kadefors, 2010). Changes in joints and neurology are thought to make younger employees a better choice than older ones. In addition, it is felt the skill set of many older workers might be outdated. Technology training for older workers was found to be an effective way to increase the employability of older workers (Picchio, 2016). Literature on improving the employability of older workers indicates that several actions can be taken to improve the situation, but there are still many unfulfilled gaps. The most important gap is what can be done to close the gap. This research will help to fill this and other gaps that would help to keep older Maltese citizens in the workforce longer.

Outline of Methods
This research will involve a quantitative survey of small to medium businesses in Malta. The study will ask the businesses what prevents them from hiring older positions, the conditions under which they would employ older workers, and any suggestions that they might have for improving the employability of older workers in Malta.

This study will use a mixed methods study technique that allows both definitive statistical analysis of the results, an allows the subject to explore the topic further through open ended questions. The survey will include both closed and open ended questions. The researcher will develop the survey instrument based on the literature review and research questions. Data collection will be achieved through emailing the survey to the respondents. Subjects will be recruited by looking up local businesses and sending them an invitation. Data will be analyzed using descriptive statistical techniques, frequency distribution, and other techniques as appropriate to the data that is collected.

Ethical Considerations
The study will not involve the collection of personally identifiable information. Therefore, it will not violate the privacy of any individual. The survey results will be presented in aggregate, so no individual can be identified in the final study report. All participants will sign a waiver before participating in the research study.

Access to Resources
The researcher will use government reports and academic articles that are available to the public. The researcher has access to all materials and supplies that will be necessary to complete the research study.

    References
  • Formosa, M. (2014). Socio-Economic Implications of Population Ageing in Malta: Risks and Opportunities. Bank of Valletta Review. No. 49. pp. 79-98.
  • Hurley, J. (n.d.). Employment trends and policies for older workers. European Foundation for the improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
  • Kadefors, R. (2010). Employability of older people: a scientific review, conclusions and recommendations. University of Gothenburg. pp. 1-11.
  • Picchio, M. (2016). Is training effective for older workers. IZA World of Labor. 121: pp. 1-10.