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Times of Oman - 11.03.2015


As GM of a local HR consultancy, where we offer both recruitment and training services, it was refreshing to read Elham Pourmohammadi's excellent front page article yesterday.  It is good to see that there are so many likeminded individuals working in the private sector.  

As a recruitment consultancy, we undertake many recruitment campaigns for a vast array of clients from different sectors and are regularly faced by fresh graduates who say they do not wish to be considered for a job because the salary is less than 1,000 OMR.  

I recall speaking to one fresher who told me that he was worth 1,200 OMR, not the 800 OMR being offered, and on asking him why, his only response was "because I have got a degree".  

We have also faced fresh graduates ringing us up and shouting at our recruiters because they were not selected to be interviewed for CEO's vacancies.   

We have had the opportunity for graduates to undertake excellent graduate development training programmes for some of the largest international organisations turned down because, and I quote "it will be too hard work".

Where is the culture of 'you reap what you sow', why don't many youngsters understand that they need to work their way up and that gaining experience helps them to reach higher positions in the long run.  We all know what happens to the 'forced flower' – it doesn't grow so well.

Partly it is the fault of the education system as I have heard it said that they tell the students that 'we are grooming you to be managers' and not we are grooming you for work and to gain the necessary experience to become managers and I think partly the Government has a part to play in changing this situation.  

Although I am a great advocate for Omanisation (and at Competence HR our target is 35 per cent but we are at 75 per cent), this has to be undertaken in a planned way. 

Whilst higher Omanisation targets are pushed through without consideration of whether the necessary skills and experience are available this will force companies into taking people who are not the best qualified for the job.  

Further it enables nationals to artificially inflate salaries – not because of actual worth and value to the company, but because of 'supply and demand'.  The demand is high, the supply is short, so salaries go up.  

There is an additional factor and that is one of performance whilst in the job.  Unless Omanis are expected to perform at the levels set by the company, and unless low performing or low motivated employees can be dealt with through a fair disciplinary process, then efforts may not be made by some individuals to deliver to the best of their ability and the business will ultimately suffer.

We do however find that Omanis are very keen to learn and undertake personal development and for most they understand the days of the 'jolly to Malaysia' to undertake a programme that can be delivered in Muscat, are gone.  

In our experience, Omanis engage well in training programmes and are willing to take on new ideas and to try and implement new skills.  

Companies, however, should take responsibility for ensuring that nationals are trained with programmes that actually deliver a return on their investment and are appropriate for the learner.  

Too many training programmes are undertaken to 'tick a box' with no checks to ensure that the learning has been taken on board by the individuals and no refresher training (vital with health and safety programmes for example) or knowledge that the new skill  has been implemented once the employee is back in his seat.  

Often we find individuals are on a programme that they have been told to attend and they do not know what to expect or why they are attending.  Also the content and level of the programme should be better aligned with the individual's needs and with the objectives of the company.   

My advice to freshers is to get that first job, learn as much as you can from it, irrespective of the salary offered, because whilst you are living at home your outgoings will be less.  

Too soon there will come a time, when you need to earn a better salary to support your family and the more experience you have, the better salary you can ultimately achieve.  

Learn from your more experienced colleagues, irrespective of their nationality, ask for training and development that aligns both with the business needs and your own development and then aim high.  
There is nothing stopping you reaching the heights of CEO, but take your time to do this so it is a job you well deserve and not a job given to you because of your nationality
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