Creating 25,000 new jobs for young job-seekers was the big, joyful news this month. It is an historic announcement by the Council of Ministers that was received with utmost happiness by people around the Sultanate. The constant plea of Omani youngsters active on social media was met with an admirable response from the government, which also mandated additional measures to address the lack of jobs.
The plea was made popular by a hashtag on Twitter and as a result the government responded admirably. One enthusiastic job-seeker who posted on Twitter did some plain speaking. He was of the view that when they look for jobs, they do not really mean looking only at the salary package or on ways to spend their free time, but rather look at whether the job is a source of a stable livelihood.
According to statistics released during August by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), expatriate workers account for more than 1.8 million individuals, while the number of Omani job-seekers was 43,775, representing only 2.4 per cent of this figure. The data also indicates that large numbers of Omanis who are in need of jobs are between the ages of 25 to 29 years. Besides, Omanis holding a diploma or graduate degree constitute the largest segment of job-seekers, numbering 25,672.
The figures provided by the department helps the government to design a sustainable strategy for job creation. In 2011 the government recruited thousands of graduates mostly for the government sector. This resulted in a negative growth and the sector suffered as staff promotions were frozen for many years.
Added to this was the reduction in various training programmes which would have helped to upgrade their job skills.
Figures show that most of the job-seekers are qualified with diploma and graduates with a bachelor in arts certificates.
Since the Omani Renaissance, the government has supported the private sector directly and indirectly. Now is the time for the sector to give back to society, by offering opportunities to Omanis even at high levels of the management hierarchy.
We need to see sustainable plans to recruit Omanis in the private sector to work hand-in-hand with expatriates to build the nation.
This, I feel, is important because prospective young graduates who look for jobs will get ample exposure to work in a different culture which in turn provides them with ample experience. It is here the private sector must cooperate more with the government to provide for more job opportunities and fill vacancies with young Omanis. Companies have to engage employees through a clear plan of action for the future.
The private sector organisations must strive to play a bigger role in the employment of job-seekers and provide a healthy work environment which will finally attract youth to this vital sector.
BADER AL KIYUMI