Skills increase employability, says Muscat University VC

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — MUSCAT: Jan. 4: Graduates about to enter the job market are anxious about opportunities available in the current economic situation, said the Vice-Chancellor of Muscat University, Professor Anthony Cahalan. He, however, said “skills increase their employability”.
According to Prof Cahalan, it is important that young people study something that they are passionate about because it is difficult to maintain enthusiasm for more than three to four years of a bachelor degree or even a one year of Masters.
“You need to know the field you are studying gives you a sense of fulfillment.  Secondly, it is important to look at the opportunities and especially the areas where government’s focus is, but also make sure you are not locked into a single career path because careers can have multiple pathways as it is not a single track to a destination,” said Prof Cahalan.

Prof Anthony Cahalan

While a job is important — either created by themselves or by somebody else — it would be one of the many stepping stones in their professional lives. “They will make decisions as they move through their professional lives. It is important to have the qualification you need for a job as well as additional skills.”
Flexibility is highly significant, says Mutassem Sultan, a profession coach and a business consultant who provides inspirational training for the youth.
“Just a decade ago, we did not think about training in social media. Today one can major in digital media,” Mutassem said.
While job-seekers wait for opportunities in their specific fields they have majored in, often spending months to years, the best option is to assume more responsibility by taking voluntary causes explained Mutassem.
He added, “Make oneself more valuable by developing new skills. We also have to remember we are world citizens today and there are opportunities everywhere.”
Doing research on job opportunities is a necessity, point out the experts.
“Many reports are compiled that are conducted by the Omani government and other governments in the region. This gives an idea on the availability of jobs,” said Prof Cahalan.
What are the skills that would be essential in today’s market?
“English is currently the global business language. One needs to develop skills in languages and be able to present oneself in a professional way with a good CV and be able to give good verbal and visual presentations to clients.
Being able to work in teams is essential. In education, it is much to do with what the individual does, but when it comes to employment, it is very much about what one can do in a team — to accept peoples’ ideas, embrace ideas and make compromises sometimes.
These are the soft skills a lot of employers are talking about at the moment. So they are  communication, language, presentation and team work,” said Prof Cahalan.