52% of respondents in Oman say skills gap exists: Survey
Muscat - A recent study titled ‘The Middle East Skills Report’, conducted by Bayt.com – the Middle East’s number one job site – and YouGov – a research and consulting agency, has found that 52 per cent of respondents in Oman believe that there is a skills gap in the market.
At the regional level, 65 per cent of employers believe there is a skills gap in the market, while seven per cent of employers said there isn’t a gap, and 28 per cent said they did not know. Employers and job seekers seem to be in agreement on the presence of a skills gap in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, stated a press release.
The majority of job seekers (59 per cent) also think that there is a skills gap, while 11 per cent think there is not.
From a job seeker’s perspective, according to respondents, the number one reason for not finding jobs fitting their skills-set is a ‘lack of awareness’ (33 per cent) of what skills are in high demand. This sentiment varies with age: 38 per cent among those aged 40+, compared to 34 per cent amongst ages 30-39, and 30 per cent amongst those below 30 years old.
Just above a quarter of job seekers (26 per cent) also claimed that the educational system doesn’t train students on skills which are relevant in today’s marketplace. This sentiment is more prevalent in North Africa (31 per cent) and amongst recent graduates (32 per cent).
Most demanded skills
According to employers, the top three most important skills for mid-career or junior positions are ‘teamwork’ (83 per cent of employers said it is very important), ‘time management’ (80 per cent said it is very important) and ‘written communication’ (76 per cent said it is very important).
Job seekers also agree: 84 per cent said that ‘teamwork’ is a very important skill, 83 per cent said ‘time management’ is very important, and 79 per cent said ‘written communication’ is very important.
Most scarce skills
Less than one in three (32 per cent) employers claimed that it is ‘very difficult’ to find good candidates for junior or mid-career positions. On the job seeker’s side, only a quarter (25 per cent) of them have claimed that it was ‘very difficult’ to find jobs matching their skills level.
According to those surveyed, there is a much bigger gap between what employers and job seekers think when it comes to senior roles. Only about a quarter (24 per cent) of senior employees have reported that it is ‘very difficult’ to find a job matching their skills. On the other side, the majority of businesses (58 per cent) face challenges in sourcing employees with relevant skills for senior positions.
When looking to hire for midcareer/junior positions, 47 per cent of employers surveyed said that they face the most challenges when searching for candidates skilled at ‘creative thinking’. Forty-four per cent of employers said ‘global mindset’ is very difficult to find and 43 per cent said ‘visual thinking’ is very difficult to find.
Job seekers seem to tell a similar story by rating themselves lowest on two of these skills. Only 50 per cent of job seekers claimed to be ‘very good’ at global mindset and 53 per cent claimed to be ‘very good’ at visual thinking. However, there is a discrepancy in their evaluation of their creative thinking skills against what employers said: 59 per cent of job seekers evaluate themselves as ‘very good’ while 47 per cent of employers say it is ‘very difficult’ to find this skill.
Data for the Middle East Skills Report was collected online. A total of 6,229 interviews with job seekers and employers have been completed.
At the regional level, 65 per cent of employers believed there is a skills gap in the market while seven per cent said there isn’t