Oman needs a reliable database of jobseekers

SALEH AL SHAIBANY – saleh_shaibani@yahoo.com – A reliable database of jobseekers is badly needed and it is very essential for employment policy and job generation planning. Up to date employment statistics is an important structure of any progressive country. Matching up the current demand of jobs and the future generation of employment is important for any country.
It is an indicator of a strong economy and where the country is heading in terms of its financial system.
In an age of data accuracy and information technology intertwined in a vast array of technologies, crucial metrics can be easily worked out to determine who is looking for a job and which company is in need of what talent.
The present system of asking job seekers to register as unemployed in the Ministry of Manpower needs updating.
Not all of them use this method which means this method of counting joblessness is not accurate. Second, the records of those who register are not connected to employers.
The Ministry of Manpower sends the names manually to companies and half the time graduates end up being interviewed by companies who don’t employ people of their specialisation.
A unified system is needed to distribute the names of job seekers to the right employers from a multiple of sources. Each university, college, vocational training institution and school must have a separate portal that allows their graduates to register for jobs immediately after graduation.
The separate educational portals will link up to a common national database that will give an accurate number of unemployment to everyone who needs it, including the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Civil Service. The database will give private companies an easy access to pull out the right candidate they want to interview, according to the displayed data.
On the other hand, the private sector can start individual records of their employment’s needs and the future forecasts of jobs that can be unified to a single pool of information. This way, both the current and future demands can be made available to cater for both employers and job seekers.
It will also serve as a tool of economical planning based on accurate statistics. No one knows exactly how many people look for jobs in Oman.
Depending on which government official or job expert you talk to, the figures being thrown range between 20 to 30 per cent.
This is one reason why a unified gathering system is important. Not only an exact number of joblessness is established but a greater number of vacancies will be filled up to reduce unemployment.
But having an exact number of job seekers and vacancies is not all. These figures must be published every quarter for greater transparency.
When the system is out in the open on regularised manner, there will be no blaming culture either from the government side or the private sector.
There should be two benchmarking. One for the job seekers where educational institutions can play an important role and the second for available vacancies. The latter, the private sector needs to take a leading role.
At the moment, a job seeker waits needlessly when all the time the job is waiting only it is hidden somewhere in the wilderness of general incompetence.
If it is coordinated with people who are retiring, then economic planners would have a bigger leverage.
But the overall employment statistics is not just useful to predict future job generation only.
It will be also useful to the monitoring of inflation, interest rates and the financial market. It is important, too, to projects, at a time when Oman is embarking on developing the infrastructure.
Contractors would want to know what is available in the local job market to help them prepare their bids. Foreign investors also go for job statistics before they can decide whether to invest their money or not.
Overall, Oman badly needs the joblessness statistics if it wants to keep the ball of progress rolling.