Monday column: The reasons young Omanis struggle to get jobs

Opinion Sunday 21/April/2024 18:05 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: The reasons young Omanis struggle to get jobs

With scarcity of jobs in the country, many young Omanis are asking themselves why they went through four hard years of higher education to end up in a job queue.

There are many job advertisements posted in the social media but more than half of them are for experienced candidates.

Most companies advertise vacancies for fresh graduates where hundreds of Omanis apply but the job positions are only for one or two candidates.

So it is a snail pace of employment where only a small percentage get to the interview stages because there are very few vacancies. But there is an alarming complaints that most companies advertise for jobs that do not exist. Why?

Just to make the Ministry of Manpower happy that they are seen to be looking to employ but they are not serious about it.

When they get caught, they would say the company filled the vacancies internally. But what has inspired this tragic onset?

Very simple. After COVID-19, many companies have now to make up for the losses of that time. They had to borrow from banks to keep them afloat when their income hit the all-time low.

Two years later, they still fight to wipe out the losses and that’s why they are struggling. They have loan repayments and these companies cannot afford to take up new employees. But why the Ministry of Manpower still push them to employ when they are still in debt? Again it is very simple.

The ministry continues to get thousands of registrations from job seekers every year. It is left with no choice but to keep pressing companies to absorb them.

Is it a vicious circle that has no immediate end? For the time being, yes. However, transparency is very important to educate the public to understand the current economic situation. But most important, Colleges and the Universities need to prepare their graduates about the harsh realities of employment. That may soften the blow once these graduates start queuing up for the jobs.

Mental preparedness is more important than practical readiness. Graduates will know what they are against and look at other alternatives. There are two possible solutions. Start their own entrepreneurships or cross our borders to look for jobs in the neighbouring countries. Both options can serve them well.  

The good news is that many government organisations are working hard to push up the economy to a sustainable level. One bright path is the business investments packages that are being promoted to foreign companies looking to diversify their portfolios to Oman. The second one is the promotion of tourism targeting Oman as one of the major destinations in the region.

All this will not happen overnight but with careful steps, it will satisfy the job market sooner or later. It all depends on the right implementations. Oman is one of the fastest growing populations in the region, second only to Saudi Arabia. Official statistics show that there have been a steady baby boom since the year 2000 that has increased the population of Omanis by about 22 percent since then. That means Omanis in their twenties make up about 30 percent of the population.

That has put an enormous strain in the job market.