banking

Omanisation gathers steam

November 17, 2022

Muscat – The attention accorded by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to youth is reflected in the Royal support to employment initiatives, a set of which came around last year, when COVID-19 pandemic had its greatest toll on local and global economic conditions, leading to the shrinkages of the labour markets. The Royal attention resulted in the launch of an executive plan to provide more than 32,000 jobs.

“We have placed youth at the forefront of our government’s concerns. We have followed up the efforts made to engage youth in the nation-building process. We will ensure that this partnership is more comprehensive and more effective. The state’s institutions and officials are endorsing a sustainable course of action focusing on highlighting the salient contributions of youth in this auspicious march and organising their role in serving society,” His Majesty the Sultan said earlier this year.

“We have been impressed by the achievements made in the field of recruitment during this year, which saw the employment of a good number of Omani jobseekers, despite the difficulty of this stage. We look forward with hope, combined with determination, to all sectors of the state and the private sector playing the role expected of them in promoting employment, being the cornerstone of the economy and development,” he added.

His Majesty said that the aim is to provide jobs to “our qualified sons and daughters and to qualify those who need to gain the necessary skills to join the labour market”.

“As for our sons and daughters from among entrepreneurs who wish to establish their private projects, we are resolved to lend them our support and encourage their entrepreneurship programmes. We will offer necessary support and incentives to small and medium enterprises, given their vital role in stimulating economic activity and employment opportunities,” he added.

Giving preference to nationals when offering jobs is a key government policy for all countries, and Oman too has been working towards achieving a right mix of Omani and expatriate workforce in the private sector. The new policies issued by the Ministry of Labour (MoL) is gathering steam, more so to tackle the difficult economic conditions caused by the pandemic.

The visa ban on specific job roles for expatriate workers in the private sector and in-depth training programmes introduced to sharpen the skills of Omanis will definitely have a positive impact on Omanisation.

According to figures of the 2021 Statistical Year Book released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the rate of replacing expat employees with Omanis has risen remarkably in five sectors – commercial banking, oil and gas, communications, insurance and hospitality.

Commercial banks have maintained a lead in Omanisation, with 94.4 per cent of jobs held by Omanis at the end of last year against 93.7 per cent at the end of 2020; 11,477 Omanis worked in banks, compared to 680 expatriates.

In the oil and gas sector, Omanis accounted for 88.1 per cent – or 17,565 – of the total workforce at the end of 2021 compared to 85.5 per cent in 2020. In the communications sector, there were a total of 3,764 workers in 2021, 3,479 of these being Omanis, while Omanisation in the insurance sector rose to 81.9 per cent in 2021 against 78.8 per cent in 2020. There were a total of 3,006 insurance workers – 2,463 Omanis and 543 expatriates.

The hospitality sector employed 4,243 Omanis among a total of 11,650 employees. Omanisation in the sector rose from 33.8 per cent in 2020 to 36.4 per cent in 2021 amid efforts to increase the number of Omani employees.

The total number of employment opportunities created, including replacement of expatriates with Omani citizens, in the public and private sectors was 10,017 in the first quarter of 2022, constituting 29 per cent of the target of 35,000 jobs for 2022.

Out of the total 10,017 positions, 2,573 were created in the public and private sectors by replacing expatriates.

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