Also read: Professional life a big worry for Oman graduates
Muscat: Half of all young Omani job-seekers needed three and a half years to find a job according to 2015 data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
While that length of time might surprise many, it reflects an improvement on the year before when the average time to land a job was four years. The NCSI data for 2015 also showed a big difference depending on gender, with males finding employment in less than two years, while females took up to four and a half years to get their first job.
A Ministry of Manpower official told Times of Oman that one reason for the length of time was that Omani job-seekers were still holding out for public sector roles rather than joining the private sector.
Young adults (15-29) year-old, made 30 per cent of Omanis total population by 2015. Around 60 per cent of Omanis were between 15 and 64 years, the working age, by mid-2015, according to NCSI.
During a meeting in January, Abdullah Al Bakri, the Minister of Manpower, noted an increase in employment rates of Omanis in 2015.
When asked why it takes such a long time for young Omani job seekers to find a job, Talib Al Dhabari, head of the media department at the Ministry of Manpower, said, “Many Omanis still prefer to start their careers with the public sector only,” noted Al Dhabari.
He said that job-seekers should start accepting the jobs offered to them and then start thinking on how to improve their skills, instead of waiting for only government jobs.
He said the ministry works through different programmes to facilitate the employment of job- seekers, especially graduates.
“Work opportunities are available and the ministry is following the communication that takes place between companies and job- seekers. The ministry makes sure that any company contacted by a job-seeker should explain all the job contract points, including the salary. We make sure that they respond to the job-seekers within two weeks,” said Al Dhabari.
One of the lucky ones to find a job was Hilal Mubarak. However, he said that he searched for vacancies individually without seeking help from the Ministry of Manpower.
“Waiting for years to find a job can cause serious problems to a person’s memory and it might affect productivity and critical thinking,” Hilal added.
Experts have called upon job seekers, and students, to consider part time jobs.
While 85 per cent of Omani job-seekers believe their education and degree qualify them to enter the job market, managers in senior positions do not seem to agree.
Tawfiq Mustafa, an expert at Human Resources, said many graduates with high GPA are not prepared for the local job market.
“As the waiting period increases, a job-seeker becomes in despair and loses self confidence,” said Mustafa, while blaming the free education system which makes college students “less disciplined”.
He added that financial stability can have a negative effect on the job seeker’s attitude and desire for a job.
“During my interviews with fresh graduates, I noticed that many struggle with speaking English and are not aware of the latest updates and news about their profession, which shows lack of interest,” Tawfiq said, adding that unemployed people should be encouraged to utilise their waiting period to invest in self-development and start up projects.
According to Tawfiq, the long waiting times for unemployed females to find their first job is linked to cultural issues.
“It’s very common here (in Oman) that women don’t accept working in places far from home and they avoid night shifts,” he said, adding that family and cultural factors are the reason behind the limited job opportunities for females in Oman.
Yonus Salim, a social researcher, said that the miscommunication between job market authorities and higher education institutions is a major cause of such delays in providing jobs for Omanis.
Miqdad Al Lawati, a recently employed Omani national, blamed the employment procedure at some government institutions which can “take up to 10 months”. According to the NCSI report, seven out of 10 Omanis depend on friends and family to help them find a job while one fourth of job-seekers rely on employment offices.
The report also showed that 66 per cent of job-seekers check newspaper’s advertisement for vacancies.
The unemployment rate in Oman has reached 7.17 per cent, according to a new report by the International Labour Organisation, predicting that the number of unemployed people in the world will increase by nearly 2.3 million in 2016 and 1.1 million in 2017 as a result of the global economic slowdown last year.
Times of Oman on Sunday reported that more than half of Omanis remain jobless after graduating from colleges in the Sultanate, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE).
The survey was carried out among 12,551 students, who have been searching for jobs after graduating from their colleges.
The survey pointed out that while 53 per cent remained jobless, 47 per cent Omanis got jobs after graduating from colleges.
The study also showed that students of Science, Philosophy and Engineering bagged jobs after passing out from colleges, while students in the Arts struggled to get a job.
So far, there are no statistics on the number of 2015 or 2014 graduates from higher education institutions in Oman.