Omanisation - The Missing Ingredients


July 22, 2012

Omanisation - The Missing Ingredients

For the last twelve months I have been holding my breath every time, I came across an article or letter on Omanisation. What is Omanisation and what are the objectives? To Omanize numerically is not the target. It has to be effective and enduring.

The missing ingredients are two. First the attitude or lack of it from the Omani recruits and second the negative reception of non-Omanis in any organization when they have an Omani in their department. The Omanis must be committed, involved and not let any hostility de-motivate them. I am not just putting words on paper - I am doing so out of the long experience I have had in the human resources field with 20 years experience in the best non-government organization in Omani, namely PDO.

I was part of the think-tank tasked to draw up policies, salaries, benefits etc for Omanis and third country regionals. The aim being to attract, retain and develop Omanis to take over from expatriates. At the same time in the late 1970’s / 1980’s we did arrange with others Gulf Oil Companies to find jobs for those expatriates who were Omanized. Despite a very attractive package to motivate expatriates to train/develop Omanis within 6 months only one expatriate qualified for the package, (this package was 26 months salary.) This says a lot of how much negativity there is in this issue.

I also worked for a short spell in one of the major local banks in their H.R. Dept headed by a third country national. I was shocked to see how much negativity and nit-picking there was against Omani staff with spying, rudeness and all means used to de-motivate them. Even when a group of students from S.Q.U.’s College of Commerce were taken as interns- no work was given that would develop their skills. Instead final year graduates were given letters to put in envelopes, shred papers or just left hanging around. I am not saying that this is widespread but is definitely prevalent in almost all private organizations where third country nationals are worried of losing their jobs.

On the other hand we have Omanis who have no motivation, do not attend to their jobs, have no interest in development, are not committed and who think they cannot be fired. These are the Omanis who are giving disrepute to the process, who only think of the salary at the end of the month and who have no target or aim to be developed, promoted and get satisfaction of a job well done. An example of this is absenteeism of staff in supermarkets. This has led to complaints that Omanis (by inference all Omanis) are lazy and unreliable. Far from the truth it suits the expatriates to cast Omanis as such.

I will not even delve into the major discrepancy between salaries, benefits and perks meted out to expatriates compared to Omanis who in many cases are even more highly qualified than the expatriates. Besides huge salaries, free accommodation with utilities paid for, fully comprehensive insurance, family passages and children education all add up to an immense inequality in the packages. Additionally, with the gloomy economic outlook in the West there is a tendency amongst Western supervisors to engage in alienating Omanis either by innuendos, negative appraisals and generally be hostile especially vis a vis Omanis, especially those who show potential, in order to ensure their continued employment here in Oman, and not have to risk the uncertainty of un-employment back in their countries.

It must be borne in mind by all concerned in the job market that expatriates are here for a certain job, for a limited period but that Omanis are the future of Oman and every help on the way to achieving their potential and doing so objectively without feeling discriminated is the best way all round. On the job coaching- relevant courses, cordial working relationship and positive attitude will go a long way to a harmonious long term relationship well after the employment period.

Omanisation is an honorable target, achievable and well worth fighting for. Omanis: tighten your belts and honour your country by honouring yourselves. The target is well within achievable reach and worth the world to struggle for. With dedication, motivation and long term development plans Omanis will be looking forward to go to work and achieve targets instead of hating being in their work places. His Majesty, may Allah protect him, has dedicated himself to Oman. The least Omanis should and must do is dedicate themselves to achieve the vision of a better future for our future generation.

Realistic Omanisation involves more than just salary, training and development plans. Omanis must be encouraged and given long-term plans on how and when they are expected to achieve their full potential. In this way motivation and commitment as well as goal and result-oriented Omanis will be able to achieve Omanisation.

 [The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Muscat Daily or Apex Press & Publishing.