Malta ranked as the Brain Business Leader of Southern Europe

Malta takes the top spot in southern Europe for Knowledge intensive jobs according to a report commissioned by Nordic Capital.

The study was conducted by Malta-based think tank European Centre for Policy Reform and Entrepreneurship and ranked Malta in the top spot for the Mediterranean Region with an overall ranking of 16 out of the 28 countries covered in the study.

This report gives an overview of the various sectors where brain business jobs are found, as well as an allocation of these sectors between countries and capital regions in Europe. The report also sheds light on the shifting landscape for knowledge-intensive businesses.

The Nordics are top-ranked in the study, with Sweden ranked number one in terms of attracting brain business jobs and reinforces the point that a high concentration of brain businesses is a breeding ground for creative ideas, R&D inventions, innovative business concepts, business ventures, and start-ups and all-around dynamic economy. This report adds further credence to Malta’s claim to be the most interesting investment location in the region.

Malta occupies the 16th place in the country ranking of brain business jobs, with 47.3 such jobs per 1000 working age population, compared to Sweden with 87.1. Investments in R&D are not particularly high but thanks to far reaching reforms to abet growth it has become the most knowledge intensive region of southern Europe. By attracting international businesses and talent, the country strives to become a Singapore of the Mediterranean. As a result, its GDP per capita has grown rapidly and is now close to the EU-average. The islands strengths according to the report lie in advanced services and the creative professions, while it remains weak in tech and IT, Malta is strong Film/TV/Music and Advertising. In particular, there are strong financial services and gaming industry clusters in Malta. In these areas start-ups have also sprung up or flocked to the island.

The report was authored by Dr. Nima Sanandaji and Prof. Stefan Fölster. “As ECEPR is a Malta-based think tank, we are proud to see that our home is the regional leader in this regard, and would be happy to promote the findings of this report locally so that we can use it to leverage Malta's international position even further”.


The full report can be download at


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