Oman needs to create some 50,000 jobs annually for its citizens , according to project management expert Ed Hughes from ESI International.
“With indigenous population growth at the current level, Oman needs to create some 50,000 jobs annually to stop unemployment, which is estimated at 15 per cent from rising any further.”
Hughes will address delegates at the upcoming Oman Human Resources and Nationalisation conference  to be held at Park Inn by Radisson, from February 23 to 25.
He will deliver a presentation highlighting the benefits of reducing Oman’s reliance on expatriate labour, by targeting project management in key industry sectors, where Omanisation is at its lowest.
In sectors such as IT and oil and gas , Omanis in project management related functions only represent 15 per cent and 22 per cent respectively of the total workforce compared with 70 per cent in telecom and 30 per cent in construction.
“But Omanis must be given the right skills to be of value and not merely to meet quotas. For example, around 60 per cent of the oil and gas sector workforce is Omani, but about 63 per cent of those are employed in the lower designations. Without technical skills being accessible, Oman will be forced to give jobs in areas such as project management, to expatriate workers,” added Hughes.
This view is supported by a recent recruitment event held by a contractor for PDO, which was looking to fill 100 vacancies. “Although 300 Omanis applied, 30 per cent wanted a desk job and most other applicants didn’t have the necessary technical skills to be hired.”
According to the Project Management Institute. 15.7mn new project management roles will need to be created globally by 2020 just to keep up with demand.
“With Oman planning US$112bn worth of projects by 2020, US$96bn of which will be over the next three to four years alone, it is an opportunity for Omanis to fill project management roles, in sectors that are delivering Oman’s critical mass of projects.”
The benefits to the Omani treasury are clear, replacing expatriates with Omani workers would help to reduce public spending on subsidised utilities and health services. It would also reduce Oman’s balance of payments deficit because workers’ remittances would be lower, leading to an increase in domestic spending, contributing to faster GDP growth .