In what is seen as a historic move, Oman is all set to provide 25,000 jobs to its citizens by the end of this month. “The recruitment will start with immediate effect,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower. He was addressing journalists and other officials at Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising on Wednesday to announce details of the recruitment procedures under the auspices of Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour bin Said al Hasani, Minister of Information.
According to Al Bakri, support from the private sector and government undertakings has been extremely well that “there are more job offers than what is actually required”.
“The Ministry of Manpower had extensive discussions with heads of different sectors in the economy.
All have expressed their willingness not only to provide jobs but also training to those who require,” said the minister.
In October last, the Council of Ministers said that 25,000 jobs would be created for Omanis in both private and public sectors starting from December.
The minister said the “private sector establishments are not allowed to recruit foreigners if there are qualified job-seekers” who can meet the conditions for that job.“Recruitment of expats will be permissible only if there are no national job-seekers to fill the job.” He urged the private sector to pay attention to employing and qualifying nationals. The employers, he said, should not expect graduates to be quite ready for the job.
However, they will be able to improve their skills whenever they find proper training and qualification, the minister said.
Speaking to the Observer, Mohammed Ghalib Ali al Hinai, Advisor (Human Resource Planning) at the Ministry of Manpower, said the ministry has already started communicating with the job aspirants.
“The recruitment process will be done in different phases with 25,000 jobs to be provided initially for those who have registered with the Authority of Manpower Register till October 3, 2017,” he said.
According to him, more than 47,000 job-seekers have registered, of which 62 per cent are women.
The next stage requires creating not less than 40,000 jobs annually and that requires economic growth as well as replacement of expats by nationals.
While providing jobs to nationals will be an ongoing process, Al Hinai said that after the first phase, new graduates and others, apart from those who could not make it initially, will be included in the second phase.
It is mandatory that job seekers ‘activate’ their registrations every month, he said.
“All the allotments will be done under the supervision of heads of different sectors in coordination with the Undersecretary of Ministry of Manpower,” he said. He said that two recruiting companies in the private sector — Target and Mujeed — have been shortlisted by a technical committee appointed by the ministry for compiling and expediting the process.
While the former will deal with job-seekers who are graduates, diploma-holders and above, the latter will take care of those with high school education and below, he said.
Omani private sector created around 125,000 jobs every year during the eighth five-year plan period.
But the number of Omanis recruited was less than 4,000, he revealed.
The hiring of an expatriate is to be done only when a suitable Omani candidate is not available, he added.
According to Al Hinai, the Ministry of Manpower met with heads of companies various sectors, including tourism, mining, different free zones, banks, insurance, manufacturing, etc.
“We targeted those companies that provide good environment for Omanis to work with.
They all promised us with sufficient job creation.
Now we have enough jobs to meet the requirement,” he said.
Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, in response to a question on a TV programme, said the private sector is the main generator of job opportunities in any country.
He said by middle of this year, we have seen a growth in the number of male and female Omanis working for the private sector to 230,000.
This figure is modest considering the private sector has generated more than 1.7 million jobs in the past few years, most of which were taken over by expatriates.
This, he said, is the main reason behind low Omanisation levels in many sectors.“It is very important to replace retired expatriates or expatriates who leave for good with national manpower.”
“We should bear in mind you can recruit non-Omanis when Omanis lack training or are not equipped to take over the available jobs.
Recruitment of expatriates is for a temporary period, until they are replaced with Omanis.”
Dr Sunaidy said jobs do not necessarily exist in large companies such as petrochemical projects.“Omanis have to find jobs in the small and complementary sectors.
This is where the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs assumes significance.”
He said the private sector provides 100,000 jobs every year and urged the Omani manpower to “take their portion of such jobs”. Dr Sunaidy said the upcoming state requires a range of measures to achieve success of Omanisation process such as not granting any facilities, including loans and contracts, to companies that do not employ Omanis.