Times of Oman
Muscat: People in Oman who have higher education qualifications such as Ph.Ds and master’s degrees are more likely to work in the public sector than in the private sector, according to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information.
The NCSI’s Statistical Yearbook showed that there were 4,580 employees with Ph.Ds in Oman by the end of 2018, and that 2,983 of them were employed in the government while only 1,597 worked in the private sector.
Similarly, nearly two-thirds of master’s degree holders in Oman are employed by the government. Out of 16,898 employees with the qualification in Oman, 11,266 worked in the government and 5,632 worked in the private sector by the end of 2018.
Out of a total of 1,978 Omani Ph.D. employees, only 118 worked in the private sector with the rest in the government. Of the total 2,602 expat Ph.D. holders working in Oman, 1,123 worked in the government and 1,479 worked in the private sector.
Asked about the reason for people’s interest in working in the government, an official from the Ministry of Manpower said, “This could be because of the difference in benefits and incentives that the government gives the employee.”
As well as these benefits such as pensions, the job security that exists in government offices is an incentive to employees.
Shahswar Al Balushi, the Head of the Tanfeedh labour lab, explained how government jobs might be more appealing to people.
“There is a certain degree of disparity between the benefits in the private sector and those in government. We have been working very hard to try and create a better employment environment in the private sector by trying to close the gap between the benefits of the two sectors. That is going at a steady but slow pace, and that gap is still there. That is why the pension gap and the security gaps are different, and these are things that tend to effect the attractiveness of the private sector to people.”
Al Balushi also said that companies are very interested in a combination of degrees and experience that directly relates to their work, while the government wants to hire people who have proven themselves exceptional academically and willing to learn.
Al Balushi said: “The private sector looks at which fields these master’s degrees and Ph.Ds. exist, so that is number one for whether a person is right for the job. Number two is that the private sector looks at people with practical experience in the field. The private sector’s work is practical and attempts to make the business successful and profitable for the shareholders.
“Having a master’s degree or a Ph.D. without the experience is still an advantage, but that person lacks the element of experience that is required in the private sector,” he added.
“The government sector is set up so that your job depends on what degree you have, so it’s worth getting a degree for the job. In the private sector, the degree is good because it indicates what level of knowledge you have achieved, but your experience is even more valuable because it shows the successful delivery of projects and the ability to solve problems, as well as the ability to think and analyse. The two fields are different.”