Private sector to generate 13,000 new jobs

By Samuel Kutty — MUSCAT: Jan 14 – With a budget strategy to limit government recruitment this year, Omani youth will have to be more productive and positive to get jobs in the private sector. Experts familiar with Oman’s job market say that working now requires different sets of skills and a new paradigm of mindset. “There are going to be thousands of job opportunities in the private sector. To seize the opportunity, the job aspirant should adopt the right attitude to work,” Dr Hamed Hashim al Dhahab, Chairman of Industrial Innovation Centre, told the Observer.

Despite the fact that Oman is going through a rough patch where increasing payroll check is not on the agenda for most market players, there will be abundance of jobs in the current year. While the recruitment to government departments will be limited as announced in the state budget, the private sector is expected to generate 12,000 to 13,000 new jobs in 2017. According to the budget statement, private sector is expected to generate job opportunities for Omani youth through the establishment of investment projects that have economic returns.

“Due to the challenges facing the budget resulting from the sharp fall in oil prices and higher spending on salaries and wages, the recruitment, in public sector during 2017, will be very limited,” the budget statement said. Tanfeedh, the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification, is expected to improve the investment climate in the country and play an important role in the job market in the private sector. According to Shaswar al Balushi, CEO of Oman Society for Contractors, there are thousands of jobs in the construction sector alone.

“Of a total of 1.5 million expatriates working in the construction sector, even if 50 per cent are considered low-level jobs and avoided, there will be 700,000 jobs. Of which if we take 10 per cent, there will be a massive 70,000 jobs for Omanis,” he said. But the local youth should be prepared, willing to work and committed, he said. According to Dr Hamed, Omanis generally have a lacklustre interest in joining the construction sector. “A more technology-driven construction sector will of course be more efficient and productive, and considerably reduce project costs. Moreover, it will encourage more Omanis to take up jobs in the construction industry,” he said.

Noting that the Sultanate’s job market is heavily dependent on expatriate labourers, Dr Hamed said, “The situation will change in the coming years, as more Omanis equipped with technological and management skills come forward to work in the industry, replacing expatriate workers with manual skills.”