Muscat: The government is encouraging local students, job-seekers, and employees to take up part-time jobs in the private sector to help build their capabilities for the labour market.
According to the annual report published by the Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit (ISFU), this initiative aims to improve the current part-time work policy to enhance workforce readiness based on job market needs and to manage short-and long-term economic requirements.
“Introducing the new alignment of the part-time work policy is expected to enhance the employability skills of nationals, as school and higher education students can acquire hands-on experience during their studies,” the report said.
Noaman Abdul Majid, Country Manager at Pak Oman Investment Company, said this is a timely move to encourage young Omanis to gain practical experience and evaluate their own aptitude before making a full-time commitment to a particular professional discipline.
“In addition, they will be able to complement their income and will also be able to meet their operating expenses and pursue further studies,” he said.
“This move by the government is in line with international best practices in developed countries to groom their youth as per the practical requirements of the industry,” Majid added.
Moreover, Raed Mohammed Dawood, Director of Government Relations and Corporate Affairs at Ooredoo, said taking up a part-time job presents a number of life and career benefits.
“Busy is becoming the new norm and many people are now looking at part-time work as a way of balancing their career with other aspects of their lives,” said Dawood. “It is definitely a great way to earn and develop professionally, while ensuring work-life balance, and it’s also a great opportunity for young people to get experience.”
SalamAir has already started creating part-time positions for its summer programme, in line with the government’s call.
“We have already begun creating part-time positions and started filling them with summer trainees during the summer,” said Salam Al Kindi, Director of Corporate Support at SalamAir.
“We will be employing those who have successfully completed SalamAir’s ‘trainee’ programme, converting them into part-time employees post-summer. Part of our mission is to create a work environment where our team members can not only develop, but also thrive.”
“As the government continues to make strides in promoting the hiring of Omanis for part-time positions within the private sector, we at SalamAir are on board with the initiative and plan to continue to play our part in the hiring and development of local talent,” added Al Kindi.
Figuring out the real number of part-time workers, however, has been challenging since most of them are not registered, the report pointed out. “Part-time workers fear that registering may impact their search for full-time jobs or cost them social security benefits,” said the report.
In response, the Public Authority for Manpower Register (PAMR) has integrated the part-time job registration process with the already-established National Integrated Manpower Register (NIMR) system.
“The user-friendly system is planned out in such a way that the part-time job seeker will not lose the opportunity to get a permanent job,” said an official from the Ministry of Manpower (MoM).
“People should not fear registering for a part-time job or think it will reduce their chances of getting a permanent job,” added the official. “In fact, working part-time will help them gain experience that will increase their chances of getting a job.”
To accomplish these objectives, the MoM issued Ministerial Decision 40/2017, which incorporates part-time and temporary work regulations as proposed by the initiative working group. However, a final draft of the amended Ministerial Decision is expected to be issued in 2018 after discussions with stakeholders resulted in the inclusion of students in the part-time work policy.
“To include students in the part-time work policy, the ISFU, in cooperation with the MoM, facilitated syndication with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, and Ministry of Legal Affairs on the way forward,” said the report. The MoM and ISFU are also working hard to promote the programme in the Sultanate’s 11 governorates through explanatory videos and infographics in traditional media and social media platforms.