Omani unemployment declines to 11.75%
The sultanate’s unemployment rate during the period in fact witnessed a strong decline, from as high as 14.4 per cent in 2003 to 11.75 per cent in 2014. (Image: file photo)
The number of job seekers in the sultanate has registered a 2.6 per cent average annual growth over the 2003-2010 period, totaling 146,385 people and forming 11.75 per cent of the nation’s workforce, figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) reveals. As much as 98.92 per cent of these job seekers are Omani citizens.
The rise in the number of job seekers in the sultanate is attributed to employment over-saturation at government establishments, and also the increasing number of graduates including Secondary Certificate holders passing out every year from various academic institutions, a press release from NCSI said.
However, the sultanate’s unemployment rate during the period in fact witnessed a strong decline, from as high as 14.4 per cent in 2003 to 11.75 per cent in 2014.
The NCSI study on the characteristics of job seekers in the sultanate based on the last census indicates that jobseekers represent eight per cent of the sultanate’s manpower, and five per cent of the total population. Even though the 2.6 per cent annual growth rate in the number of job seekers in Oman is lower than the global rate, it is much higher than that in GCC countries.
The 2003-2010 period witnessed an addition of 26,287 candidates to the sultanate’s pool of job seekers, marking an 18 per cent overall rise and an annual average growth of 2.6 per cent, the release added.
It is worth noting that the sultanate has a huge workforce. Its 2mn strong manpower constitutes 72.2 per cent of the total population. While the percentage of workforce among expatriates is as much as 90 per cent, it is 64.7 per cent among Omanis.
The sultanate’s average unemployment rate is lower than the global average, and is on a par with Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon.
Omanis' contribution to the sultanate’s workforce is 47.4 per cent against 52.6 per cent among expatriates. This is due to the relatively high percentage of old people and children among Omanis.
Males constitute the majority of the workforce in the sultanate at 80 per cent against 20 per cent among females. The former also constitute 57.3 per cent of the jobseekers females make 42.7 per cent, in the cities, while in villages male and female jobseekers constitute 59.1 per cent and 40.1 per cent. The predominance of males could be attributed to the fact that most of them are responsible for spending and sponsoring their families.
About three quarters in the job seekers (72 per cent) live in cities compared to 28 per cent living in villages. The low number of job seekers in the villages is because the labour markets in the villages more or less assimilate the workforce residing there.
The unemployment phenomenon in the sultanate is concentrated in the most populated cities and coastal governorates. The study on the characteristics of job seekers indicated that North and South Batinah together have a 33.2 per cent share of the total number of job seekers. It also showed that Muscat governorate contains 15.7 per cent of the job seekers who were previously employed.
The highest share of job seekers was found in Dhofar governorate with about 18.9 per cent, followed by South Sharqiyah with 17.4 per cent, and North Batinah with 17 per cent. The sultanate’s general unemployment rate stands at about 11.8 per cent, the release added.
During the period from 2003-2010, the unemployment rate witnessed a decrease in the six densely populated governorates including North Batinah, Dakhliyah, South Batinah, Dhahirah, Muscat and North Sharqiyah. On the contrary, the unemployment rate increased during the same period in less populated governorates like Buraimi, Musandam, Dhofar, South Sharqiyah and Wusta.
Despite the fact that the majority of job seekers were males, data shows that the unemployment rate among males decreased during the period from 63.6 per cent in 2003 to 57.8 per cent in 2010. On the contrary, unemployment rate among females increased from 36.4 per cent to 42.2 per cent over the same period. This can be attributed to the increasing number of educated females and the unsuitability of some jobs owing to social and cultural reasons.
The percentage of jobseekers in the age group from 15-24 years fell from 74.1 per cent in 2003 to 63.6 per cent in 2010 due to effective initiatives at employing them. On the contrary, the percentage of job seekers in the age group 25 to 34 years increased due to the high volume of population in this age group and the increasing number of graduates. The study also revealed that this phenomenon tends to be concentrated among educated people particularly those with intermediate education.
The data indicated that unemployment rate among those who received intermediate education touched 58.9 per cent. On the contrary, the percentage of job seekers is a low 9.3 per cent among those who received higher education. The unemployment rate was 9.9 per cent among those having preparatory school certificate; while it was 3.5 per cent among those who completed basic primary and secondary education. The unemployment rate among illiterates was found to be 1.6 per cent.
It was also noticed that unemployment rates among holders of general diploma and secondary school certificates were 57.3 per cent and 20.3 per cent respectively.
The percentage of expatriate jobseekers does not exceed 1.7 per cent, however; expatriates have the highest number of jobseekers with postgraduate and doctoral qualifications.
The unemployment phenomenon among people previously employed tends to increase at the illiterate and lower educational levels. Unemployment rate starts to decline as educational level goes up. However; a higher rate of unemployment was recorded among those holding Masters and PhD degrees.
The majority of the jobseekers (more than two-thirds) can use the computer efficiently. The majority of jobseekers (59.3 per cent) can't use the internet efficiently as a means of learning and searching for jobs available in the labour market despite the fact that most of them have computers.
The jobseekers who were previously employed constituted ten per cent of the total jobseekers; while 90 per cent of the jobseekers were not previously employed.
The youths in their second or third decades tend to leave their jobs in search better opportunities. This phenomenon decreases when they get older. The majority of the jobseekers who were previously employed are males and most of them worked in the private sector.
With regard to the social status of the job seekers, the study found that the majority of job seekers are not previously married (80 per cent). Also 60 per cent of job seekers are males.
The percentage of jobseekers who are members of families reached 67.7 per cent. Meanwhile 6.3 per cent of the total jobseekers are heads of households who are married.
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