RIGHT FOR THE JOB

Oman 2015 | ECONOMY | FOCUS: OMANIZATION

Getting more Omanis into key positions, especially in the oil and gas sector, is top of the agenda for Oman's government.

Omanization is one of the main priorities for the government. The Ministry of Manpower works toward striking a balance in the labor market based upon well-studied principles as part of the government's drive to ensure that the percentage of expatriate workers doesn't exceed 33%.

In an interview with TBY, HE Abdullah Nasser Abdullah Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, stated that, “this will be achieved through application of the provisions of the labor law, regarding the employment of national manpower in jobs requiring advanced administrative experience according to Omanization and replacement programs in the establishments operating in the oil and gas industry, and the recruitment of expatriate workers to fill in these posts." He added that “it is noteworthy that the Ministry is always keen to meet the actual needs of private establishments operating in the oil and gas fields for national or expatriate workers. And it should also be noted that a balanced labor market, in the light of the government's trend, enhances activities in the national economy and serves the oil and gas sector."

The education of the national workforce will significantly increase opportunities for Omani workers, with the Minister stating that, “the Ministry of Manpower has introduced the specialization of oil and gas engineering in the engineering programs at the Colleges of Technology. During the period from 2011 up to the end of the first semester of the academic year 2013-2014, a total of 177 male and female students were awarded diplomas in oil and gas specializations and there are currently 152 students who are continuing their studies in this specialization."

Focusing on the educational sphere, the number of Omanis that are at less than the general diploma level was 80,831, with expatriates at 939,704. The number of diploma-holding Omanis was 101,130 and the number of expatriates was 209,019. Data also shows that, in the Sultanate, there are 20,025 Omani graduates and 36,046 expatriate graduates in the oil and gas sector, while 22,712 Omanis and 124,212 expatriates have university-level degrees. Among the number of total employees, 30.6% are classed as having limited skills, 50.2% are skilled, 7.8% have technical knowledge, and 11.4% have specializations. Out of the total number of expatriate workers, 32.9% are classified as having limited skills, 28.1% are skilled, 30.2% have technical skills, and 8.8% have specializations.

In terms of the professions, the Omanization level achieved in clerical jobs was 95.5%, in services 20%, administrative jobs 17%, industrial jobs 13.1 %, basic engineering assistance 7%, technical jobs 2.2%, specialized professions 18.7%, sales 15.7%, and agriculture 7.3%. The Ministry's outlook envisions the number of expatriate workers ultimately dropping from 692,867 to 586,272.

According to the data available, 147,438 companies employing the correct number of Omanis is just 224,698, which represents 14.6% of the total number of 1.5 million employees (both citizens and expatriates) in the private sector in 2013. In the same year, the community represented by expatriate employees went up to 1.3 million. Generally speaking, total manpower, both in the public and private sector, remained at 1.7 million. Moving forward, getting more Omanis into top positions will not only reduce the country's reliance on foreign labor, but also encourage more Omanis, in the future, into the private sector, which many currently shun in favor of more comfortable government jobs.