The number of jobseekers in Oman has increased 11 per cent in the past year, with graduates making up the lion’s share, according to new data from the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The numbers looking for work shot up in the months to July, reaching 50,000, reported the Times of Oman. Many graduates have turned to waiting tables or driving buses, as they look for work in the area they are qualified in, while others have returned to university to study further.

But experts have suggested that graduates may also need to lower their expectations. In the Times of Oman, Jasim Al Baluchi, deputy head of education and professional development at the Caledonian College, said: “They have to be more willing to work in any job at any level. There are many economic projects in Oman that jobseekers could become a part of if they are willing.”

This is not the first time the struggles faced by graduates in Oman have hit the headlines. Figures published by the NCSI earlier this year put the number of Omani nationals seeking work at 43,858, at the end of 2016, with many in the 25-29 age bracket.

Speaking at the time, Mohammed Al Kharusi, chairman of Intersearch Oman, said there were a number of obstacles standing in the way of Omani graduates. “The greatest barrier is lack of skills, as schools and colleges do not necessarily equip their students with the skills required in business and industry.”

He said that behaviour and a lack of can-do mentality were also barriers to recruitment. “Omani millennials need to move from a culture of having everything handed to them on a plate, to that of survival of the fittest and self-development, in order to acquire the skills and competences that will make them marketable as employees,” he said.

In June, an initiative was launched in Oman to encourage the creation of new SMEs and reduce joblessness among young people. The government gave its backing in the form of an OMR70 million fund available to young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business.

State-owned Oman Development Bank is also offering incentives, which include favourable interest rates on loans and exemption from loan repayments during the first year.

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