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‘Omani job seekers need to change mind set’

Official hopes with new reforms more citizens will join private sector

Gulf News

Muscat: Serious job-seekers in Oman will have to change their mind set regarding employment opportunities in the private sector, according to a senior official at the Manpower Ministry.

“The tendency is to switch jobs for slightly higher pay,” Aala Bint Esmail Al Ghilani, Educational Aids Specialist with the Manpower Ministry, said in reply to a question by Gulf News, adding that with the switch the Omani youth also keep changing their job profile.

She hoped that serious job seekers would realise that their career growth would be good if they continue to work with the same job profile. “We do have an issue about the poor response from the unemployed to employment opportunities in the private sector,” she said while interacting with media during a press conference held by Oman International Trade and Exhibition (OITE) to announce three exhibitions on higher education (GHEDEX), job market (JOBEX) and training (Trainex), respectively.

“When we call registered unemployed Omanis for placement in the private sector, the response is very poor,” she agreed.

She hoped that with the minimum wages being raised to 320 Omani riyals (Dh3,042) in the private sector as well as recently announced uniform weekends and public holidays the situation would improve. “We are optimistic that more Omanis would now be willing to join the private sector.”

Aala also pointed out that lack of training was another aspect that needed to be addressed to bridge the employment gap between the public and private sectors. “We are working on that and soon steps will be taken to train fresh graduates for the job market, especially for the private sector,” she revealed.

She also said that sessions will be held during the three exhibitions, to be held simultaneously in Muscat from April 23, to make the unemployed aware about the need to get trained for the job market.

Saeed Al Rahabi, a deputy director at the Ministry of Higher Education, said that both the ministry and private sector were working together to create a mechanism that will train job seekers for the needs of the private sector.

He also revealed that the ministry had increased the total number of seats for higher education to 32,000, including placements at the Sultan Qaboos University, College of Applied Sciences as well as scholarships to study abroad.

“With the military absorbing 10,000 to 15,000 secondary school graduates each year, only about four to five thousand are left without alternatives for higher education,” he said.

He also said that the government had decided to give a 90-riyal allowance to higher education students coming from beneficiaries of the Social Security Scheme (SSS). The Social Welfare Ministry helps Omani families that come under SSS.

Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, Director, B2B Events and Marketing at OITE, told Gulf News that more and more American universities are coming to Oman for the GHEDEX. “For some years US varsities stayed away from our exhibition but 16 colleges and universities came last year and this year it has increased to 26,” he said.