Slowdown in government spending continues to cast its shadow over major private sector employers in Oman and around the Gulf in 2017. Hiring and investing in HR development are definitely not among local and regional companies’ to-do-list. On the contrary, a sizable number of employers have actually taken the opposite direction and by taking serious downsizing measures. This simply means that getting a job in Oman or anywhere in the Gulf is not as easy as it was three years ago.
Sectors with limited opportunities
Large scale employers like banks, oil and gas, contractors, telecom and, of course, government have become very rational with HR cost. Therefore, if you are targeting a job in any of these sectors you are simply barking at the wrong tree.
Banks in Oman have realized that the organic growth in the banking sector tapered off by 2014. Furthermore, they seem very serious about process automation and reducing dependency on human labor. Besides, if there are any fresh banking jobs priority will be given to Omanis as the Central Bank of Oman dictates that 90% of banks’ total workforce must be Omanis. You might get an opening in the bank though if you are willing to take up a direct sales job.
Oil and gas companies have realized the need to vigorously cut cost since late 2015. One of the measures taken to attain this objective is by replacing more expensive resources with not-so-expensive ones. Basically, replacing westerns by professionals from other parts of the world.
Contractors and construction companies are the most hit by this crisis. In simple terms, the construction rally started in late 2003 and had not stopped until early 2017. When you build something you have to use it to make money to get return on your investment before moving on to build something else. The economy is obviously not generating enough opportunities to absorb new buildings.
Telecom companies are also unlikely to provide many opportunities in 2017 and probably a year or two ahead. Even with the third telecom license to be issues very soon the opportunities remain limited. The existing two operators are either over-staffed or sufficiently staffed. They would probably be happy to share some of their non-technical staff with the new comer.
Government jobs have also become very scarce after the unprecedented explosion in 2011 and beyond. This came due to sociopolitical pressure as thousands of young Omanis wanted jobs.
Retail, consultancy, service and engineering sectors are likely to continue offering employment for both Omanis and expats. To limit the analysis on how these sectors contribute to generating new jobs in Oman you can consider the fact that total population grew by almost 2% during 2017. Despite the recession, the number of expatriates living in Oman grew from 2.080 million by the end of 2016 to 2.122 million as of 23rd May, 2017. The growing population needs basic service regardless of the economy.
As per www.jobibex.com two sectors are likely to generate more jobs in Oman in years to come that are: manufacturing and agriculture. These two industries are expected to generate thousands of direct jobs and many more indirect jobs.
Omani manufacturers realize that the only way to survive over the long-term is through exports and enhance efficiency. As a matter of fact, the current conditions and fueled by reduced government spending have inspired Omani manufactures to pull up their socks and become competitive. As a result national export figures look healthier than during the time government was the sole buyer of almost everything that bear the sign “made in Oman”. Factories and industrial companies are actually hiring. They are looking for candidates with superior quality though.
Agriculture and food production are also going to require all sorts of labor and intensive capital. To begin with, the government has announced the incorporation of a 100 million Rials company that will produce dairy, livestock, grain and poultry in Northern part of the Sultanate. Farms and greenhouses are also spreading across the Sultanate. The contribution of agriculture and fisheries in Oman’s GDP is likely to elevate sharply during the next decade. These sectors will certainly present promising employment opportunities for both white-collars and blue-collars.