The job centre, set to open by February, will coordinate recruitment processes across the country and make it easier for Omanis to find the right role.
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The centre is expected to come up by the end of February, according to the government, and was given the green light after the Council of Ministers held a meeting to review the position of the national workforce.
During the meeting, the council agreed on the importance of activating employment tracks in various sectors of the state
The first NCE aims to unite all employment services, according to the Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit (ISFU) of the Tanfeedh programme for economic diversification.
Mohammed Al Busaidi, Chairman of the Youth and Human Resources Development Committee at the Shura Council, told Times of Oman, “We welcome this decision by the Council of Ministers, and personally, I believe that this is the first step towards organising the folders of all job-seekers.”
“The new centre will act as a one-stop centre for jobseekers, to unify employment efforts and effectively coordinate the supply and demand of job opportunities in the Sultanate. The centre will direct jobseekers towards employment opportunities in the private and public sectors,” Al Busaidi added.
The centre has been proposed as a major advancement in merging efforts and coordinating action plans, as it aims to assist the employment process between employers and jobseekers and provide support for both.
“This decision sends a positive message to jobseekers since it was announced at the beginning of the year and indicates that big changes are coming this year,” said Al Busaidi.
“The centre will also follow up with people who have been employed and those who are yet to be employed due to their degrees, in which case, the centre will provide training for those jobseekers or ensure their re-specialisation.”
The NCE will not only deal with the job opportunities that are available but will also analyse the conditions of jobseekers.
“Having such a centre that looks at the demands of the workforce is very important. Any company that wants to hire an expat will not receive a permit if an Omani is found to have similar skills as those needed by the company,” added Al Busaidi.
“Having such a unified centre will make it easier to monitor its progress or challenges. The management of the centre will be shared between the public and private sectors; this is an important element because the focus in the near future will be on the private sector. Therefore, it is important for the sector to be involved in the decision making and monitoring process,” he added.
Not from scratch
In terms of how realistic the deadline provided by the council was, Al Busaidi said, “The centre will not be starting from scratch, it will involve other agencies that are related to jobseekers, such as the directorate general of employment under the Ministry of Manpower and the manpower registry, and possibly, the National Training Fund.”
“The idea and objectives are clear; therefore, all that is left is for the competent authorities to coordinate the mechanism for the actual start of the centre,” he added.
Shashwar Al Balushi, head of the Tanfeedh Labour Labs, was one of those involved in the setting up of this centre, and said this would help streamline the process.
“I think this will bring all the jobseekers to one central location, which we did not have previously,” he told Times of Oman.
“Earlier, when we were discussing this as part of the labour labs, one of the most important questions was what is the government and the private sector doing to provide more jobs to Omanis, because that was the most important concern. Now, both the government and the private sector will know who is available in the market and how they can hire these people. There is also now no excuse for companies not to hire Omanis if they are looking for them. Earlier, there were unfortunately some organisations that said they did not know how to reach out to Omanis, but now, there is one centralised place for all the companies to search for workers so they can do so here.”
He added, “This is a good move not just for the companies, but for the jobseekers as well, because they now don’t have to go to one company after another and sometimes face rejection. If you go to one company and they say they don’t have a job, you might not be interested in going to another one because it can get a bit discouraging to hear that again and again. Now, there is only one source to get employees, and that is the NCE.
“It is also good to see how often employees re-enter the job market, because sometimes, there may be an employee who returns to the market after only six months, while others may come back after one year.
“If companies see the same person returning to the job market again and again, they might wonder what’s happening with him/her, and wonder whether they should hire that person because he/she returns to the job market very often, and that is not good, unless there is a genuine reason. So, this will also increase the competitiveness of the labour force. I also think that both the government and the private sector need to understand that all of us have a responsibility to hire quality Omanis to help with the Omanisation plans, and we must not forget this responsibility.”
Haider Al Saadi, A former Omani jobseeker from Sur, praised the move, saying, “I think it’s a great idea. It is very proactive and will hopefully help jobseekers find employment. The 29-year-old, who currently works as a driver, added, “When I was looking for work, times were different. I was able to rely more on friends and family and eventually things worked out. However, today, the situation is different, which is why the creation of such a centre is a very good idea.”
The Ministry of Manpower announced that 3,457 jobseekers were invited to conduct employment interviews to compete for 277 jobs in the private sector in 33 establishments across the Sultanate. The Ministry also continued to follow up with private sector companies and establishments after the operational interviews to ensure the completion of the operating procedures and the signing of contracts for jobseekers.
Five jobseekers signed employment contracts with Oman Air on Wednesday in professions, which included shipping clerks, sales executives, medical coordinators and booking clerks. During this week, the Ministry invited 4,298 jobseekers to compete for 401 job opportunities in various governorates of the Sultanate.
Ready for work
Juma’a Al Mukhaini, a recent graduate, added, “I am currently undergoing my training period, and previously, other friends of mine who had graduated had to go from one company to another and ask them if they had vacancies. This was really frustrating because maybe you would get something or maybe you would not. Sometimes, companies would say we needed to work with them for three or four months even after our training period, as interns, and this was not good because we had already finished training and were ready for work.”
Yusra Al Rawahi, a working professional, added, “I was able to get my job after some time. I went to many firms and they would ask me to come back later, but fortunately, new graduates and others who are looking for jobs will not face this problem. I am happy that the government is helping us like this.”
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