Sunday Beat: Corporate majors need to bring Omanisation process on track



Muscat: The Omanisation process will never work to its full potential unless the government starts to take a closer look at the top 60 private companies in the country.

These top 60 companies in the Sultanate employ nearly 550,000 workers — accounting for about 45 per cent of the total workforce in the private sector. By December 2013, the Ministry of Manpower had registered about 1.25 million foreign workers employed in the private companies against only 182,000 Omanis. This statistics does not include the 224,000 domestic workers employed in private homes.

These top companies are awarded an average OMR3 billion a year worth of government contracts as well as various subsidies ranging from training to paying lower  power charges, according to tender statistics and official records. It was both surprising and shocking to hear at a recent business seminar, an Omani official defending the slow process of Omanisation, and attributing it to "the reluctance of young Omanis to work hard because they are used to an opulent lifestyle."

Fresh graduates
Some 45,000 graduates are expected this summer to emerge from universities, colleges and vocational training centres. The government will be forced to employ most of them because the private sector sees them "not equipped for the required skills" or they are just deemed pure "lazy" without even being given a chance to prove themselves.

If they talk about maintaining high skills in the private sector, how come we drive on bumpy roads, have expensive bridges cracking up, still suffer from frequent electricity blackouts, walk in the dirty streets, some overflowing sewer water? It is common knowledge that such sloppiness is because of government contractors who employ expatriates to maintain these services.

It is interesting to note that the private companies, dominated by the expatriates, complain that our graduates are not taught the right skills to land them jobs in the private sector.

The Omani job planners nod their heads in agreement overlooking the simple fact that over 80 per cent of our higher education teachers are expatriates. This means that our graduates are taught the wrong professional skills by expatriates and rejected by expatriates for having the wrong skills when they look for jobs.

Let me give you an example of the financial jobs. The majority of the senior managers' post in auditing, accountancy, retail and credit are not occupied by Omanis. There is a reluctance in grooming young Omanis for these senior job takeovers.

They get frustrated at the lower rungs and end up changing jobs frequently and eventually take up government jobs. 

A similar scenario exists in the Information Technology (IT) and engineering jobs. In the construction, consulting, energy and contracting companies, decisions to employ graduates rest heavily on the heads of the departments, most of whom are expatriates who have been occupying these positions for years — some even for several decades. If they are challenged, they would readily blame the Human Resources managers — who, by law, must be Omanis — for rejecting fellow nationals.

The reality is that the Omani HR managers are expected to follow tough norms about how to fill up these available positions with local candidates.

Omanisation Committee
Either the National Omanisation Committee is not fully committed or the task is simply too big for them. There is also a question of competence among their ranks. To stop the Omanisation process remaining a casualty and a subject for mere lip service, officials must scrutinise the employment policies of the top companies. They should also rigorously monitor the situation on a regular basis and thoroughly investigate why many senior positions have not been Omanised yet.

Oman holds a unique position of being the first Gulf state to start the job nationalisation drive in 1985. However, nearly three decades later, we are still struggling to make it meaningful.

Large companies
The Omanisation Committee should not feel intimidated to look at the Ministry of Manpower's employment clearance system to make sure large companies do not get special treatment when they apply for visas. They should also raise questions as to why these corporate heavyweights very easily get employment visas for almost any number of foreign workers they need. If they find the Omani-expatriate ratio being violated, the Omanisation Committee must take legal action against the individuals who allow it to happen.

We don't want to continue to camouflage the obvious failings of the Omanisation process for another 30 years just to put more money into the pockets of a few individuals.

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What i feel is that oman has other potential job markets which are still unyielded because nobody is interested. There is a huge scope for potential people for opening factories for food stuff, drinking water and similar other fields and ministry is also providing lot of support for that but I think people are looking for a well paid job rather than starting his own industry...




Its a good article throwing light to the importance of Omanization which should be done by empowering the locals for a better quality of life, which I believe is happening. But just penning an article blaming expats for the cracks on the bridge or dirty streets is pure exaggeration or immaturity on your part. I am sure you would have employed an expat servant to do your daily chores! Do not forget that the same expats that you hate, built the roads and buildings under the sweltering temperatures! Would you as a person do it?




I strongly agree with this article. I know many expats are staying 3 to 4 decades in oman. Govt should forcefully terminate those peoples who is blocking job opportunities to both omani youth and expat youth. I hope govt should fix some time limit for expats to live in oman. anyways excellent article




I agree with Mr. Al Shaibany. I just want to say something about my experience with the Manpower. I got a Business /Multidisciplinary studies degree at Belgium and got over 3 years of work experience back there. I have been registered with the Ministry of Manpower for over 9 months now and each week I go to the Manpower twice to find out if they got a job for me or not. When I get there, they tell me that blah blah company is going to call you this week. I usually dont get a call, but few times, I did.
An expat (Usually an Indian or a British) will call and ask these questions.
His or her questions My answers
1) Where are you from? Oman
2) Where did you study? Belgium
3) What was your major? Business/Multidisciplinary studies
4) Work Experience? 3 years

After these questions, they usually pause for a minute, and then tell you. Oh, I am so sorry we don’t have any senior positions available right now and you are overqualified for this position. But, we will keep your resume in our file. When an opportunity comes, we will let you know.

I always try to convince them that I am not looking for a senior position. I am just looking for an entry level or whatever you got. But, they will start making these excuse that Manpower does not let us do such a thing. After that, There is nothing else to say except ok,Thank you.

No grudges against expats, but most of the time the HR people are expats and mostly (Asian Expats). They always think that if we hire an Omani who has a degree will be disastrous for them. They think that Omani is going to take over and we will be jobless. Therefore, they will never hire Omani with degrees.

I must say, they know how to fool Manpower. Manpower requires these companies to hire some Omanis and they usually do, but very low scale job. What they do is this, they will hire an Asian expat pay them 400 riyals per month and top of that they will hire an Omani with 350 Riyals. They are pretty much done with the Manpower requirement because they hired an Omani.

GOOD LUCK WITH THE OMANISATION.





A good writen article. Touched the grassroot problem why omanization not happening properly...as worked there for years I didnt see any national coming to my field..inside or outside my company. .




What a bullshit article.....




Same question and suggestion was articulated many time. Not expected from quality newspaper like Times of Oman. Root cause is not author has suggested and definitely if reasons are listed by him ..It would be taken care in 30 years. Root cause is 3 ministries are no aligning 1. Commerce. 2. Manpower 3. Education. Task of issuing Expat. Visa and localization is with Manpower who has no influence with commerce and education.
Commerce Ministry with considerations from Industries should prepare 5 to 10 year Road Plan for types of jobs required for industries and skills required. It is education authorities duty to ensure that locals with require skills and experience are provided to industry. Job training with education is must. Students should be given grades after stringent test.
Lets take example of Doctors. How many Doctors produced by SQU in past many years and there standing compared to medical graduates from different foreign universities employed in Oman. Oman will definitely proud by seeing their progress. Reason Education directly linked with training and Job. Education and quality is very clear needs for being a Medical Profession.
Author touched "Finance". Topics which are covered in studies are Merger, Acquisition, take Over, valuation etc. and my question is how many Merger are happening in Oman?. Jobs Finance Professionals are Accountant with ERP knowledge, insurance, stock market, Exports, Commercial Activities, Real Estate, Accounts Relationship Manager in banks and study material hardly cover these topics.
It is must for the students to study for jobs which available in market and learn good communication skills both in Local and Foreign language. Try to get on Job Experience with studies. Good Luck for outshine career.







I totally agree with you and encourage you to write more about this .
I have done BS Civil Engineer since 1 January 2013 but still jobless .
Every company needs experience and PR



I agree with Mr. Al Shaibany. I just want to say something about my experience with the Manpower. I got a Business /Multidisciplinary studies degree at Belgium and got over 3 years of work experience back there. I have been registered with the Ministry of Manpower for over 9 months now and each week I go to the Manpower twice to find out if they got a job for me or not. When I get there, they tell me that blah blah company is going to call you this week. I usually dont get a call, but few times, I did.
An expat (Usually an Indian or a British) will call and ask these questions.
His or her questions My answers
1) Where are you from? Oman
2) Where did you study? Belgium
3) What was your major? Business/Multidisciplinary studies
4) Work Experience? 3 years

After these questions, they usually pause for a minute, and then tell you. Oh, I am so sorry we don’t have any senior positions available right now and you are overqualified for this position. But, we will keep your resume in our file. When an opportunity comes, we will let you know.

I always try to convince them that I am not looking for a senior position. I am just looking for an entry level or whatever you got. But, they will start making these excuse that Manpower does not let us do such a thing. After that, There is nothing else to say except ok,Thank you.

No grudges against expats, but most of the time the HR people are expats and mostly (Asian Expats). They always think that if we hire an Omani who has a degree will be disastrous for them. They think that Omani is going to take over and we will be jobless. Therefore, they will never hire Omani with degrees.

I must say, they know how to fool Manpower. Manpower requires these companies to hire some Omanis and they usually do, but very low scale job. What they do is this, they will hire an Asian expat pay them 400 riyals per month and top of that they will hire an Omani with 350 Riyals. They are pretty much done with the Manpower requirement because they hired an Omani.

GOOD LUCK WITH THE OMANIZATON.


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