Oman’s number of job seekers soars, majority are graduates

A view of the coast at Muscat, Oman (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 September 2017

Oman’s number of job seekers soars, majority are graduates

DUBAI: The number of job seekers in Oman rose by 11 percent by the end of July, and most of those are university graduates, national daily Times of Oman has reported.
Current figures suggest there are 50,000 Omanis seeking work, according to the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the report added.
The country’s population currently stands at approximately 4.7 million people.
And experts say graduates need to lower their wage expectations if they hope to find employment in their chosen field.
Meanwhile, in a bid to generate some income, many Omani graduates are taking whatever work they can find, including waiting and driving.
But they are prepared to take lower wages, if the right job is made available and matches their qualifications.
One such example is Saleh Al-Saidi, who has a diploma in applied chemistry, but has worked as a bus driver for the last two years.
“If I find a job relating to my specialty, I will accept it even if the pay is low,” Al-Saidi told the newspaper.
And English graduate, Abdulnasser Abdullah said: “For the past two years, I have worked in many part-time jobs, such as driver, water tank driver and car rental clerk, in a tourism company.”
According to information released by the NCSI this year, the majority of people looking for work are in the 25 to 29 age bracket – with most being college graduates, the report added.
Jasim Al-Baluchi, deputy head of Education and Professional Development said the increase in the number of graduates was a likely reason behind the increase in job seekers.
“A number of graduates are specific with the type of jobs they want, and so there aren’t enough job opportunities to facilitate the specific jobs required… They have to be more willing to work in any job at any level. There are many economic projects in Oman that job seekers could become a part of if they are willing,” Al-Baluchi explained.
Meanwhile some graduate job seekers are returning to education to try and increase their chances of finding employment, in fields such as teaching.
IT graduate Manal Al-Alawi was looking for a job for five years, before deciding to return to education.
“I decided to pursue a new degree with my own money, in the College of Education at Nizwa University, to help me become a math teacher… I think teachers have a better chance of being employed. In the last five years, I tried to apply to many jobs in my field, but I never got a reply.” Al-Alawi told the newspaper.
Of course returning to education carries its own obstacles and post graduates are facing high educational costs and as many as four years back in university.
The situation has become so significant that the hashtag “Omanis without jobs” was created on Twitter a few weeks ago and already seen 28,500 accounts vent their frustration with 600,000 tweets.


US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk

Updated 12 August 2020

US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk

  • Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast
  • The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the warehouse for more than six years

WASHINGTON: About four years before the Beirut port explosion that killed dozens of people and injured thousands, a US government contractor expressed concern to a Lebanese port official about unsafe storage there of the volatile chemicals that fueled last week’s devastating blast, American officials said Tuesday.
There is no indication the contractor communicated his concerns to anyone in the US government.
His assessment was noted briefly in a four-page State Department cable first reported by The New York Times.
The cable, labeled sensitive but unclassified, dealt largely with the Lebanese responses to the blast and the origins and disposition of the ammonium nitrate, which ignited to create an enormous explosion. But it also noted that after the Aug. 4 explosion, a person who had advised the Lebanese navy under a US Army contract from 2013 to 2016 told the State Department that he had “conducted a port facility inspection on security measures during which he reported to port officials on the unsafe storage of ammonium nitrate.”
Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast, officials said.
The contractor, who was not identified by name and is now a State Department employee based in Ukraine, was in Lebanon to provide instruction to members of the Lebanese navy. While there, he made a brief, impromptu inspection of physical security at the facility in 2015 or 2016 at the request of a port official, US officials said. The contractor was not identified.
The contractor, who has a background in port and maritime security, noted weaknesses in security camera coverage and other aspects of port management but was not assessing safety issues, according to the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a planned public statement.
While inside the warehouse where ammonium nitrate was stored, the contractor saw problems such as poor ventilation and inadequate physical security, which he noted to the port official accompanying him, the officials said. It is unclear whether the port official reported this concern to his superiors.
The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the warehouse for more than six years, apparently with the knowledge of top political and security officials. The catastrophic explosion one week ago Tuesday killed at least 171 peoples and plunged Lebanon into a deeper political crisis.
The contractor was working for the US Army’s Security Assistance Training Management Organization, headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He provided instruction to members of the Lebanese armed forces in naval vessel traffic systems and small boat operations. His class was visiting the Beirut port as part of that instruction program when the port official asked him for the inspection, which US officials said lasted about 45 minutes.
The United States has a close security relationship with Lebanon. According to the State Department, the US government has provided Lebanon with more than $1.7 billion in security assistance since 2006. The assistance is designed to support the Lebanese armed forces’ ability to secure the country’s borders, counter internal threats, and defend national territory.
Last September a US Navy ship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, visited Beirut. It was the first time in 36 years an American warship had made a port visit there, according to the US military at the time.