The national corporate human resource development strategy in the Sultanate of Oman : the integration process of young Omanis into the labour market
This study is concerned with the integration of young Omanis into the labour market. The aim is identify the factors that hamper their efforts to gain access into the labour market. The year 1970 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Oman. This hitherto backward and undeveloped country embarked on an ambitious development programme and within a span of twenty five years achieved rapid economic growth and social change. The pace of economic development has been determined by the revenues generated from oil which are the main source of income for the government. In its transformation the country relied on an expatriate labour force to meet the demand for a competent work force needed to carry out and run various plans and projects. Their size increased from few hundreds in 1970 to constitute two thirds of the country's workforce which was estimated at around 625,000 in 1995. Until 1970, most young Omanis were seeking employment in the public sector. The fall of oil prices from 1986 onwards and the advent of the Gulf crises in 1990, weakened the economy of Oman and the Government's role as the leading employer of school-leavers was reduced. Accordingly, a growing number of young Omanis began to approach the private sector for employment. The private sector employers were, however, more enthusiastic to recruit expatriate workers than to employ young Omanis. The result was growing unemployment amongst young school-leavers. This situation coincided with the majority of jobs being occupied by non-Omanis. This situation raised question marks about the efficiency of the human resource policies of the country. The changes brought about by this new pattern of employment and the difficulties faced by the young schoolleavers is the central focus of this study. To provide an adequate explanation for the impact of this issue, the study drew on the experiences of several countries and covered different issues under different disciplines, in order to formulate a set of assumptions. These assumptions were developed to reflect the perspectives of the principle groups of stakeholders concerned with labour market issues - young Omanis, private sector employers, and Omani society as a whole. In gathering data and generating knowledge, the study employed a triangulation of methods comprising quantitative and qualitative research methods. The employment of multiple methods was essential, on the grounds that not much research has been carried out in Oman. Respondents, many of them expatriates with little motivation to support the objective of the study, often questioned the intention and motivation of the researcher. Therefore, to obtain an accurate picture from them, it was important to intensify the efforts in the field to ensure the veracity of their responses. Based on these investigations the study has sought to conceptualise a theoretical approach to youth transition from school to the labour market, based on two types of factors: endogenous and exogenous. The study also offered a set of suggestions to policy makers to alleviate the problem of youth unemployment in the country.