Omanisation must stretch to the very top of industry Reply

Omanisation must stretch to the very top of industry


Salim bin Nasser

Salim bin Nasser Al Hadhrami – DG Planning & Development – MOM

Times of Oman – March 31, 2014 – By Elham PourMohammadi

Muscat: Omanis should be in high-level positions in industry and the private sector needs to assist the Ministry of Manpower to achieve this, a senior official told the Times of Oman.

The Ministry of Manpower, along with some other government organisations, is making efforts to reduce the level of expatriates working in the private sector in Oman from its current level of 39 per cent of the total manpower to 33 per cent, said Salim bin Nasser Al Hadhrami, Director General of Planning and Development at the Manpower Ministry.

“Recently, the Ministry of Manpower announced some ministerial decisions to organise the job market with a focus on joint inspections in all governorates,” he said. “We have found cases where an individual owns several business entities where hundreds of expatriates are working but, unfortunately, there is no Omani working in these organisations,” Al Hadhrami said, adding that the ministry has decided not to deal with any organisation where there is no Omani, since March 1.

“Unfortunately, some people explained that Omanis will work in ordinary positions. But we did not mean that. We actually wanted Omanis to work at managerial and technical professions in big companies.”

The director general added that small- and medium-sized companies also have to be managed by Omanis who dedicate themselves to their businesses.

“We know that there is a special authority for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which provides them all the support,” Al Hadhrami said, referring to the Public Authority for SME Development.

He added that the efforts of the ministry and related organisations are aimed at organising the job market. “We expect all the parties to cooperate with us to correct the situation. We all know that the private sector is a strategic partner. Therefore, we expect them to employ more Omanis.”

He also noted that there has been no announcement so far as to how many expatriates would be replaced with locals throughout the Omanisation process.

At current employment levels, the Times of Oman calculated that reducing the number of private sector expat workers from 39 per cent to 33 per cent would ultimately see approximately 100,000 roles being Omanised over time. That number could fluctuate though as the general employment pool rises as Oman continues to expand and grow. Ministry officials have consistently said there is no deadline to achieve that 33 per cent target.

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Remarks – Fully Agree!
And what I always say the very same things in my books and columns!
Take Care!
Majid Al Suleimany


Omanisation – T and D – Training and Development – By Ms. Raya al Kharusi Reply


Omanisation – Training and Development – T & D.

By Ms. Raya al Kharusi – Muscat Daily – July 24th 2012.

July 24, 2012

Despite the many scholarships and training assignments made available to school-leavers by His Majesty the Sultan’s government, we must bear in mind that success is not the result of attainment of education but is the outcome of doing what you want and enjoy doing.

Hence, every employer should and must draw out career and development plans to get the best out of employees. An employee who gets satisfaction out of his/her duties will be pleased with the working environment and will strive to get optimum output and remain a faithful member of the organisation.

Training and development go hand in hand. All plans should assess the staff performance, staff preference (to a certain extent) but more importantly should convey to the staff that a long-term career and development plan is in place for them and what the targets are. It is important to take into account attitude as well as performance when giving assignments and promoting staff.

There are some establishments which have systems wherein promotion is based on a combination of qualifications and years of service, not taking into account the actual skill-set of the employee under consideration, nor their ability, or lack thereof, to perform at a higher level of responsibility. This is de-motivating since initiative is destroyed, commitment is tempered and performance tends to become negatively impacted.

Promotion must be considered as a result of a job well done in accordance with long term career and development plans – where the employee is expected to be, at what level, over what period of time, taking into consideration a career that is projected to continue until retirement age is reached. Staff preference, when feasible, should be taken into consideration when plans are drawn out as this creates greater buy-in to the decisions made. It is important that these plans should be communicated to them. In this way, staff know that their employer takes them into consideration as tools worth developing and in some cases as future supervisors, managers, etc.

Responsibility given to staff spurs them to perform better, and directly works on developing their management skills. However, it should be noted that there is nothing more demotivating than not acknowledging a job well done. Praise should be given when due and recognised.

In many establishments in Oman, staff who are performing well and achieving their targets (if given targets and goals) are not recognised but their supervisors/managers are given credit, which leads to lower morale among staff. This issue is exacerbated in many private sector companies/banks in the sultanate, as in most cases, the staff tend to be Omani nationals, and the management, in most instances, expatriates. Especially, when national staff who are the backbone of a department and who know their duties inside out are made to train so called ‘experts’ who should inherently not require this training as they have been brought in to impart their expertise, and not gain it on-the-job, while earning much more than the staff training them.

This further demotivates staff, creating unwanted barriers, and no doubt further reduces impetus and commitment. Being overlooked is the worst blow to any talent especially in your own country.

What is needed is to have a career and development plan for all categories of staff including low-grade staff, and by that I mean even a ‘farash’, the local term for a messenger/tea-boy. The reason is that in this latter category there may be some excellent brains and talent which, due to circumstances, were not given or could not avail of further opportunities for education. Assessment of this category of staff may uncover latent skills and abilities which may contribute positively to the workforce. Language training in English (being the lingua franca) goes a long way to instill faith in one’s employer since this is the opening of the door, if only slightly, to start with. I say this with confidence and experience, as over the course of my career I have had the pleasure of seeing many Omanis, who thought they were confined to low-paying grades for the rest of their lives, rise to the challenges set and run with the opportunity provided to them.

What needs to be taken into account when drawing out career, development and succession plans? Education and experience play a great role but should not be the ‘be all and end all’. Skill-set, attitude, man-management, performance, commitment and responsibility are all very important factors. When all these aspects are accounted for and considered then there is a double benefit, serving both the employee and employer.

The employee will know what their projected career-path is in a given time scale, and will also know what skills/requirements they will need to develop to be aligned with their career and development plan. In the event that they are not satisfied with their career and development plan then it is clear to them that maybe the future they envisioned for themselves is not in the organisation in which they are currently employed, and that their aspirations may be better pursued elsewhere. For the employer, if all goes according to plan, the establishment will know what sort of make-up staff-wise it will have after so many years. This will help it organise its recruitment drive accordingly whilst at the same time continue to consolidate its overall employee base.

As my readers will notice, I have not made any mention of the remuneration packages since I am of the firm belief a good employer with good un-biased management will ensure that staff are remunerated according to criteria that is both fair and manageable. Credit where credit is due, whether the employee is a degree-holder or not. To retain high-fliers and good performers the employer must ensure equality in treatment without respect to national or expatriate.

Unfortunately, in many instances, this is not the case, and the reason given is that in order to be able to recruit expatriates we need to offer them ‘attractive’ packages. Do we really?! Even if this is the case, does the discrepancy need to be so wide as to reach as much as four or five fold in remuneration packages between holders of the same position but of different nationalities? Shouldn’t the Omani employee be accorded the same ‘attractive’ package? This is the question that all employers should deeply consider.

Employer/employee relations based on mutual respect will

enable the establishment to perform better and reach greater heights due to employees identifying themselves with their

organisations and having faith that their welfare is tied to the welfare and well-being of their employers.

Raya al Kharusi is a mother, grandmother, world affairs spectator and human resources consultant. She graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 1971

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We Need To Be Serious! 1

Between Us Only!

We Need To Be Serious!

Practising more of what is being preached and in reality!

 Or difference between rhetoric and reality!

The other day I had gone to this Medical Centre in Town. As I entered the place there was this Western lady who was at the Reception Desk. She was wearing a white nurse dress – so I presume she was a real nurse acting out the duties and function as The Receptionist cum Administrator at the counter.

She was trying hard to be friendly – and you could tell it was all an act and charade – until she realized that we spoke Queens English to be more receptive! Or perhaps the place encourages only the Rich and Famous Omanis – not like us!

I was wondering to myself whether she was really doing the job as such full time – or would not surprise me being just off Eid – if there was an Omani boy or girl doing the ‘real’ job – but as usual – and not surprising again – the fear of the rain and the wadis – or just Shuwa and Mishkaak (Meat Meals!) at the home village had decided not to turn up – like the rest of the Private Sector did!

Frankly I was perturbed as I was sitting there and though smiling comes in this person (Patient – Western) who sits facing me but my smile is wasted on him – as if we are in Europe – and not in Oman where it is customary too to at least smile and say Hi! as you enter – but that is another story for now! This despite all the things that have happened here before – and my last book published 2009 on the same issues – A Cry For Help! –

Do not blame me by going with appearances – because I simply have no way of knowing! It then dawned to me that if she (Receptionist) was really doing this job full time – then she must have come in on a Labour Clearance and Visa of a Nurse (or even Doctor – nothing is surprising anymore to me now!). And that must be a very expensive exercise of the establishment – and needed to be done anyway because she came with the ‘investment package’ from home – or through other connections, contacts and reasons.

If that was the case, for sure this job (like many others too!) could easily have been done by a local – given the right touch, encouragement, push, mentoring, guidance and coaching! But then who really cares? If you can circumvent the rules and regulations for your benefit – and the others are looking the other way – why not I ask you? Not only here but in so many other places in Town! We Need To Be Serious!

If even all these jobs ‘sort of reserved for Omanis only’ can now be done by expatriates under fanciful names and titles – why not? Could perhaps explain why this expatriate lady was doing a Receptionist Admin job – supposed to be reserved for Omanis.

But if even more senior jobs like Admin, PRO, Secretaries and Human Resources Managers are being done now openly by expatriates under fanciful names – why not? Incidentally and coincidentally if you go to the Professional Sites liked LinkedIn, you will see them brave enough to call themselves as just plain HR Managers – and nothing to be scared or to be afraid about! But perhaps more scare the guy who writes such things instead!

Frankly too – and the other side of the coin – if you as a local and are not really serious about your job aspects, accountabilities and responsibilities – and give them an excuse to bring in a friend or contact from home – or is already here looking for a job or something better – whom do you blame – them or just plain you? After all they have come here to invest with Returns (Profits) On Investments – ROI! And if the office atmosphere can be cheered the more by having home faces – or more friendlier faces – why not!

If the excuse was that she was acting because it being Thursday and the Youth insist on a five-day week as per the new regulations– the two days off could be made on shift-basis – and recruiting more Omanis for the position. This instead of wanting to give bad name to Omanis as being ‘not cooperative – even with overtime offers – instead of these short cuts!

The same story starts to repeat itself with the introduction of the basic minimum salaries – and what followed next! Here we go again!

There is something that I must also say and repeat here for the benefit of everyone – and I hope common sense, dynamism, realism, pragmatism and vision will come in!

First there is no more this element of fear still running or even scantily – and secondly everybody is just fed up to the till!

And if you think still the old games and gimmicks will still work in winning always – you have got it all wrong – and are just deluding no one but yourself only – and those near you! In desperation and last attempt and effort – last week I had written in the same column – Let The Strong Man Win! Do not tempt to scare me anymore – because in the end we will all lose – some sooner than the others!

 I think I may need to quit now writing anymore for ever – because I always get hurt and pained in the end – and I end with a bloodied face – and swollen head banging it against brick walls!

Like I have said so many times in the columns – The Romans had said – Those that the gods are out to destroy make them not see, hear or speak. Or as we Arabs say – There is no one so blind but with eyes but cannot see; no one so deaf but with ears but cannot hear; and no one so dumb but with a mouth but cannot speak!

Or as Napoleon had said – Do not interfere with someone set to destroy himself (let it be syndrome).

And finally – Those that bite the hand that feeds them – end in licking the boat that kicks them! – proved so many times before!

Take Care!

By: Majid Al Suleimany