PDO to help create jobs for 21,000 Omanis, expats

Energy Wednesday 20/March/2019 23:18 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: Petroleum Development Oman has pledged to fund training opportunities and other projects which will create up to 21,000 new jobs for Omanis
this year.
The jobs will be spread across multiple sectors, including oil and gas, manufacturing, tourism, and logistics as the company collaborates with the government to develop an adept Omani labour pool. This will help companies hire more skilled locals, and ensure they are well-trained by expats who are experienced in their professions.
Raoul Restucci, the managing director of PDO, said on Wednesday, “We aim to create 21,000 job opportunities in 2019, and we are confident that we can achieve that number.
Direct employment
“These are real opportunities that lead to direct employment once the training is completed,” he added.
“A lot of the opportunities we are promoting today exist outside the oil and gas sector, whether it be in tourism, manufacture or logistics. While some of these jobs will be created by PDO, many of the Omanis will be employed by other organisations once they complete their PDO funded on-the-job training. Restucci added that so far, PDO had already created more than 5,000 job opportunities in 2019, and signed agreements to fund training for 2,000 more employees in the government’s Information Technology Authority, Madayin, the Oman Authority for Partnership for Development, and Oman Food Investment Holding.
Asked by Times of Oman over the distribution of these jobs between Omanis and expatriate workers, he said, “All of these jobs are for Omanis. In PDO we have about 9,000 staff members. In 2019, we’re seeking 26 specialists but also releasing 200-250 expats. Our Omanisation level just keeps on increasing.”
Restucci also explained that PDO hired experienced expat workers as mentors for multiple Omanis.
“When looking for expats, the company focuses on specialists with skills difficult to acquire in the Omani market,” he explained. “One example is the fourth industrial revolution, which is driving the requirements for machine learning and artificial intelligence experts, and so the whole world is calling for them. They’re rare.”
The Omanisation rate for PDO has increased from 79 to 81 percent and the company’s target is to reach 90 percent Omanisation by 2020.
Salim Al Aufi, Undersecretary of Oil and Gas, said “ The sector has 82 percent Omanisation. This is an acceptable rate considering the changing landscape of our field of work. We would like to have 100 percent Omanisation, but that is not viable because of the need for specific experience from outside the country, and in the same way, Omanis go to work elsewhere. However, having 80 percent to 90 percent is acceptable,” he added.
The two men also addressed rumours over expats at PDO earning triple the wages that Omanis were getting.
Al Aufi strongly refuted these stories, saying, “We must differentiate between rumour and fact”. He continued, “ If there is concrete evidence of one Omani person having the same qualifications and doing the same work as an expat and not being paid the same, then give me the names, and we will correct the situation. These rumours surfaced a long time ago and we went through all the data and found nothing of the sort.”
Restucci added, “Firstly, the oil and gas sectors are highly Omanised, and where you have expatriates, is where you have a gap in skills, or more likely, experience. Secondly, I think PDO has 54 Omanis currently working oversea overseas who have been getting paid more than the nationals in those countries. Why? It comes down to international mobility: they would not move if there wasn’t an economic incentive.”