After a good run of healthy oil prices that lasted for over a decade the recent decline in oil prices is a cause of concern for Omanis. Unlike the situation in recent year with abundance of vacancies for both Omanis and expat , the job market is expecting a different scenario in 2015.
Nevertheless, Omanis are not likely to feel the impact except those contemplating employment in the public sector. The private sector is expected to continue absorbing Omanis across all levels. Expats, on the other hand, will have to deal with several challenges. These challenges are basically initiatives set by the government to promote and empower Omanis in the private sector. The following measures have been taken to support this initiative:
- Elevation of Omanization ratio imposed across all sectors
- Limitations on changing sponsors
- Ban on expat female work permits
- Ban on expat on certain professions
Oman’s leading job portal www.jobibex.com has conducted a thorough analysis on the job market in Oman to try and predict employment trend in 2015. The analysis reveals that certain sectors and professions to remain unaffected despite the expected slowdown.
The brighter sectors in 2015 are:
Tourism and Hospitality
Oman’s declining economic growth should never affect its attraction as tourist destination. On the contrary, the majority of visitors to Oman come from countries that are expected to flourish in the wake of declining oil prices.
The sector is expected to register an impressive growth due to completion of several infrastructure projects are expected to support tourism. The development of two existing airports and four new ones, the conversation of Sultan Qaboos Port in Muttrah to cater only for passengers, the construction of Oman Mega Exhibition Center and a list of major projects, completed and near completion, in the hospitality sector around Oman are paving the way to substantial employment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Historically, consumer spending in Oman has low correlation with government spending. Thus, retail business are likely to grow as local consumer behavior, spending habits and preferences have changed drastically during the past decade. This explain the widespread of mega malls and department stores in Muscat and across Oman.
The typical labor intensity of retail facilities supports the expectation that the sector will continue absorbing labor in 2015 and, probably, beyond. Omanis will have the lion’s share in jobs offered in retail sector. However, expats can also look for opportunities as the supply of Omanis who can fill the sector’s specific requirements is relatively limited.
This sector has always struggled to meet the Omanization ratio and are always on the lookout for nationals to fill technical as well as administrative positions. The shortage of Omanis who are qualified and willing to accept offers from this sector can be attributed to the following reasons:
- Major industrial facilities are located in areas perceived as remote by the majority such as Duqm, Sohar and Salalah. Most people would simply prefer working in Muscat or in oil concession area where the hefty desert allowance can compensate them for many things.
- Extreme working conditions and relatively moderate pay scale.
- In the past decade more high school graduates preferred business studies as opposed to engineering when deciding on their higher education path.
- Lack of awareness of opportunities in this sector as everyone underestimates the potentials.
- Some industries operate on a thin margin and have to choose between inexperienced expensive nationals with a list of conditions with experienced expat with less conditions.
Hot Professions in 2015
Despite the expected slowdown in the job market there are several professions that will thrive this year. The following professionals should have no reason to worry in 2015:
Accountants and Finance Professionals
Interestingly, accountants enjoy higher employment options at the time of recession. It could be because businesses believe that having more accountants in place helps controlling cost. Currently, there is a healthy demand for Omani accountants in almost every sector.
The development of the legislative system in Oman in the past decade has encouraged young nationals to pursue education in the field of law. Furthermore, the rapid economic growth has forced a lot of businesses to establish full-fledged legal department in house despite the fact that most of them have external legal consultants looking after their interest in court. In addition, just like accountants, lawyers come in handy at the time of economic distress.
The massive investment in medical facilities all over Oman has dramatically increased the number of MDs, nurses, pharmacist and other medical professionals. At the time of writing this article, Royal Oman Police commission the construction of its new medical facilities at a cost exceeding $550 million. The medical sector is not likely to witness any change in Omanization ratio. This means expats too can consider opportunities in the health sector.
Technical jobs with its broader applications are likely fill vacancy pages during 2015. As usual, Omanis are encouraged to take these jobs when planning their career. Vocational training institutes are generously funded by the government to encourage Omanis to go technical. Today, a qualified Omani technician in any discipline should never have a problem getting a job.
Marketing and Sales Executives
The shortage of Omanis in marketing and sales is evident. Nationals are reluctant to leave their comfort zone to make a cold call or even ask a walk-in customer if she needs help. As a matter of fact, it is not unusual for people to accept a job in sales just to ask for a transfer to a back office job right after the probation period. Omani looking for a job in sales and marketing domain should have no concern about the supply for jobs in 2015. This sector offers jobs not only in Muscat but in every major city of Oman such as Sohar, Salalah, Sur, Nizwa, Duqm and Al Buraimi.