Malta’s micro business landscape: 94% employed nine people or less

Provisional statistics for 2021 released by the NSO show that micro enterprises continued to be the dominant player in Malta’s business landscape

The vast majority of businesses in Malta employ between zero and nine people
The vast majority of businesses in Malta employ between zero and nine people

There were almost 56,000 active business units in Malta last year with provisional statistics painting a landscape dominated by micro businesses employing nine people or less.

The National Statistics Office said on Tuesday that 94% of the 55,950 business units in 2021 employed between zero and nine people.

The Business Demography statistics also show that there were 2,686 business units that employed between 10 and 49 people, while 500 units employed between 50 and 249 workers. There were only 97 units that employed more than 250 people.

There was an increase of 8.6% in business units last year despite fewer new registrations and a higher number of deregistrations, when compared to the previous year. The number of new registrations within the active business population decreased by 36% while deregistrations increased by 26% over 2020

Compared to the previous year, micro business units employing between 0 and 9 persons increased by 9%, while small business units employing between 10 and 49 persons, increased by 2.8%. Medium-sized business units employing between 50 and 249 persons decreased by 2.2%.

The largest increase in the number of active business units, was observed in the transportation and storage sector followed by the professional, scientific and technical activities and construction. 

The wholesale, retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles sector accounted for 18.1% of active business units while professional, scientific and technical activities accounted for 13.4% and construction accounted for 9.7%.

In 2021, 69.6% of active business units were sole proprietors and partnerships, 28.1% limited liability companies or public limited liability companies. while 2.3% were non-profit organisations, cooperatives, corporations, branches or joint ventures.

There were 18,227 employers in Malta in 2021, an increase of 8.5% over the previous year.