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Skills as critical as qualification, employers told
February 10, 2019 | 9:14 PM
by Times News Service
In order to work on the quality, education in the Sultanate should create an environment that encourages self-exploration of fields of interest as well as finding one’s passion. –File photo
 
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Muscat: Employers must not just look at jobseekers’ degrees, but also at the other skills they have, if they want to add quality talent to their companies, say educators and analysts in Oman.



With many organisations in the country stepping up their Omanisation plans, Al Mahanad Al Badi, a professor at Al Musannah College of Technology, feels that companies should look at all the abilities potential employees have before hiring them.

“Hiring job applicants based only on degrees is a dangerous practice, especially if those people are our professors and teachers,” he told Times of Oman. “First, these employees’ productivity levels might be far less than those hired based on their abilities and knowledge in addition to the degrees. Moreover, employees who are just working for an income are likely to be less conscientious and less passionate.

“This could also create a toxic culture and attitudes at their workplaces which could influence the rest of the employees,” added Al Badi.


“Why would someone do more work if he/she knows that someone else does much less work and gets the same salary if not more? In the long run, this could have serious consequences on the overall productivity. Hiring people only because of their degrees does not guarantee a better quality of work.”

Al Badi explained that those who were sincere at work were the employees who would contribute to the most to the organisation, as compared to those who had just degrees to their names.

“We should be thinking more about attaining skills and knowledge rather than the level of education because this will ensure more quality,” he revealed. “Parents should help their children develop an intrinsic motivation for learning, rather than focusing on the external rewards. In order to work on the quality, education in Oman should create an environment that encourages self-exploration of fields of interest as well as finding one’s passion. Interested and enthusiastic students can result in more meaningful and memorable learning experiences, which will help them later in life. People who want a higher degree only to access better jobs can be less conscientious about their learning.”

Other educators and employment specialists agreed with the above, adding that proper skills and a sound education complemented each other.

Kiran Madhav, the brand development manager for Omani company Al Sifa LLC said, “For me, both things are very important, because if you have a degree, you know the way the company in your specialised field functions, but your work ethic is also important. There is no point in just doing a job because it is a job. That way, you will never grow.

“I have known people in my family who dropped out of school and ran away from home at a very young age,” he added. “Today, they have their own businesses, and despite all their troubles, they did really well for themselves. If you have the opportunity to do the job that you want, and have the skills for it, then you must take any opportunity you get with both hands.

Ramanuj Venkatesh, a financial analyst with experience in both Oman and the UAE, added, “These days, in any business, having a good degree on its own is not enough. You need a good work ethic, because today, hard work and the ability to overcome problems is key to succeeding. Many companies are looking to get the most out of their employees, and if you don’t have the skills, then you need to learn them.

“In addition, once you have such a person, then it will cost the company in the long-run, because others will need to maybe help this person in doing his job, and that will mean that their own work cannot be done,” he added. “When it comes to the time for annual appraisals and bonuses, then the report of the person who is not willing to work will say it all.

Jasim Al Balushi, deputy head of training and development at the National University of Science and Technology in Oman, added, “Today, both things are very important. The first is the degree, so that you can enter the workforce, and after that, once you have entered the job market, then you need to work hard so that you can prove yourself and advance in your field. Many of our students actually ask us about what degree is required for them to succeed, and we have a programme that is now part of our course that addresses this.”

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