Muscat: To encourage more nationals to enter the private sector, efforts are on to match the minimum wages given to public sector employees with those at private sector, a senior official of Ministry of Labour said.
Omanis joining the private sector will find good opportunities for growth, and will learn plenty of skills hands-on that will benefit them throughout their careers.
“We have plans to train, qualify and prepare nationals to take up senior and mid-level roles in the private sector,” said a Ministry of Labour official. “This was part of the implementation plan announced by the ministry as part of its executive plan for 2021, which was made public last January.
“Omani citizens, particularly youth, are encouraged to work in the country’s private sector,” he said.
“The differences in privileges between many areas of work in the two sectors have already been reduced, and more efforts are underway.
“We also have plans to unify the retirement funds for the public and private sectors, so that the benefits provided to people after they finish their service is the same,” added the official. “We also aim to make the minimum wages offered in the two sectors approximately the same, which will help reduce differences in salaries provided.”
Qais Al Khonji, an Omani businessman, said workers in the private sector will definitely see their skill sets put to good use, which will help them grow on the job and make them capable of handling better opportunities in future.
“One of the main characteristics of the private sector is that those who plan on working there will need to work hard, and they will need the required skills to do so,” he said.
“But you have the opportunity to continuously learn and improve your skills and put them to good use. That way, 10 years after you have entered the private sector, you have the skills to progress in your chosen field, and you also have the capability to start your own business, if that is something you want to do.”
“I think the best way to motivate people to work in the private sector is to teach them subjects such as entrepreneurship at school,” he added.
“Start teaching them these things early, so that the mindset of working hard and the opportunities that come with it is put into students. I am all for students learning business studies in school, because of the importance it will have later in their careers.”
There were 253,369 insured Omanis working in the private sector, as of January 2021, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information. Conversely, the number of expatriates in the private sector is far higher, at 1,148,871. There are only 41,866 expatriates employed by government bodies.
Muscat has the highest number of both privately employed Omanis (81,819) and expatriates (587,547), followed by North Al Batinah (45,516 Omanis and 207,245 expatriates). The northern Musandam region has the lowest count (1,358 Omanis and 11,919 expatriates) among the 11 governorates in the country. Ammar Al Badi, an Omani national currently studying for his degree, hopes to join the private sector after graduation, because of the practical knowledge it will help him gain.
“I have learned, through my academics, and many others who have advised me on what to do after I complete my education, that you gain a lot of skills and experience, can develop your work capabilities, and increase your knowledge of the job you do, if you join the private sector,” he said.
“I will also get to do a diverse number of jobs, because I might be given the chance to do both field work and office roles,” added Al Badi, who is from Wilayat Saham in North Al Batinah. “This will also help me understand how to improve my performance, and teach me how to overcome any problems I might face at work.”