Oman­i­sa­tion lead­ing to op­ti­mism

Times of Oman - - OMAN -

In ad­di­tion, data showed that the strong­est de­cline in unem­ploy­ment over the last month had taken place in the Wusta Gov­er­norate, where it fell by 25.2 per cent, fol­lowed by North Bati­nah (11.6 per cent), Mu­san­dam (8.3 per cent), Mus­cat (6.6 per cent), and South Bati­nah Gov­er­norates (3.9 per cent).

Al Balushi was quick to point out that the eco­nomic ex­pan­sion un­der Tan­feedh was cur­rently on­go­ing in these ar­eas in the fields of in­dus­try and man­u­fac­tur­ing, en­ergy, trans­port and lo­gis­tics, and tourism.

“In the Bati­nah, Mus­cat and Wusta Gov­er­norates, there are eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties,” he said.

“In the Bati­nah Gov­er­norate, you have the Khaz­zan project, you have the So­har Port and Free­zone and you have the in­dus­trial area. There is eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and that is why unem­ploy­ment is drop­ping so sharply. The same is true in Wusta Gov­er­norate, where there is so much eco­nomic plan­ning as part of Duqm. The places where there is no ac­tiv­ity is where the unem­ploy­ment level will rise.”

Prashant Singh, an aca­demic ad­vi­sor at Wal­jat Col­lege of Ap­plied Sciences (WCAS), said that the Oman­i­sa­tion drive by the gov­ern­ment was lead­ing to more op­ti­mism with re­gard to em­ploy­ment among grad­u­ates.

“A cou­ple of years ago, the sen­ti­ment was a bit neg­a­tive, but now that has changed be­cause stu­dents see that oth­ers are get­ting jobs,” he said. “The turn­around time has in­creased. Ear­lier, peo­ple would get jobs within a cou­ple of months, but now, it takes just four or six months to get a job. Many of the stu­dents utilise this pe­riod for cer­tifi­cate cour­ses and they opt to ex­tend their in­tern­ships dur­ing this time.”

Singh added, “In most aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, stu­dents fin­ish their cour­ses in June or July. Com­pa­nies these days are look­ing for peo­ple with bet­ter com­pe­ten­cies. Pre­vi­ously, they ac­cepted grad­u­ates with or­di­nary de­grees, but these days, they are look­ing for peo­ple with higher qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

“Stu­dents also pre­fer to go for higher qual­i­fi­ca­tions,” he said. “Ear­lier, they wanted to just do a diploma, but these days, they also want to get a de­gree. The cream of the grad­u­ates opts for fur­ther stud­ies. We have a manda­tory in­tern­ship pro­gramme in both our un­der­grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate pro­grammes where dur­ing the sum­mer or win­ter, stu­dents are sup­posed to spend two months in the in­dus­try where they get the nec­es­sary ex­pe­ri­ence and then come back and sub­mit a re­port to us.”

Bet­ter qual­i­fi­ca­tions

While some Oma­nis choose to im­prove their qual­i­fi­ca­tions, oth­ers set up their own busi­nesses.

“When I was at univer­sity, I was work­ing in a com­pany as well, and I felt that that sort of rou­tine was not for me, be­cause I wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent,” said Yumna Al Sharji, founder of Atoms Labs, an engineering lab that pro­vides ad­vice and equip­ment to engineering stu­dents. “I felt that set­ting up my own busi­ness would be the best way to chal­lenge my mind. We grad­u­ated in July, and some of my friends are still search­ing for jobs, hav­ing al­ready com­pleted their train­ing.”

“Among ex­pats, there are mixed sen­ti­ments be­cause they are try­ing to find jobs in sec­tors that are open,” added Singh. “There is a visa ban across some sec­tors and this is a right ap­proach, be­cause the gov­ern­ment has to pri­ori­tise its own peo­ple. A few ex­pats choose to go for higher stud­ies, and some join fam­ily busi­nesses. Oth­ers search for jobs that are open.”

In con­trast, the unem­ploy­ment rate for those aged be­tween 15 and 24 years rose by 26.2 per cent. How­ever, this in­cludes stu­dents who at­tend school and univer­sity, mak­ing for a very small por­tion of those who would be ac­tively seek­ing work.

“Those aged be­tween 15 and 21 are mostly stu­dents,” said Al Balushi.

“They are study­ing, so you can­not cal­cu­late unem­ploy­ment on the ba­sis of peo­ple who are study­ing. This is how I read it. Peo­ple who are 15 up to 22 can­not be ac­counted for, be­cause those who are 15 are still in high school.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.