With the rapid introduction and adoption of automation, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and new generation robotics, modern Omani manufacturing is undergoing radical change – change that is opening up exciting new job opportunities and career prospects. However, traditional misconceptions about working in manufacturing persist and recruiting local talent to industry is proving tough.
Exploring how to improve the image of manufacturing and turn the sector into a magnet for young Omani talent will be the topic tackled at the upcoming edition of Ithraa’s Inside Stories. Titled ‘Dirty, Dumb & Dangerous’, it will be held at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, on October 30, beginning at 7.30pm.
Moderating the evening’s discussion will be Khalid al Haribi, founder & MD, Impact Integrated. The high-profile panelists include Neelima Vyas, COO, SV Pittie Sohar Textiles; Dr Bashair al Riyami, Food & Beverage consultant, Industrial Innovation Centre; Peter Ford, professor of design and director of Design Matter Research Group, Nottingham Trent University; and Angela Hobbs, CEO, Wilkinson Hall Consulting.
“While Omanis are rightly proud of the quality of locally made products, manufacturing jobs aren’t generally held in the same high regard, often being seen as dirty or dangerous work. If we want manufacturing to attract the talent it needs then an image make-over is clearly in order,” pointed out Ishaq al Busaidi, Ithraa’s marketing and media director general, and organiser of Inside Stories and Oman Export Week.
“We’re seeing a change in the nature of what work looks like on Oman’s production lines. Old stereotypes of dirty factories with blue-collar workers mindlessly repeating the same task over and over don’t hold true these days. Today’s manufacturing – blend of design, technology and robotics – requires highly skilled, creative and technology-savvy problem solvers for well-paid roles.”
Data from the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey shows that just 49 per cent of respondents believe manufacturing offers a fulfilling career.
The study also found that only 3 in 10 parents would consider encouraging their children to take up a job in manufacturing. And according to the Deloitte survey, just 32 per cent of millennials thought manufacturing was clean and safe with only 28 per cent considering jobs in the sector stable and secure.
“Local manufacturers need to consider ways to stand out and change their image to better attract – and just as importantly retain – the next wave of Omani talent.
Changing the perception of manufacturing will be key to winning the hearts and minds of the local talent pool, and creating a positive employee experience is critical. Happy and engaged employees are the best advertisement – and manufacturing cannot rebrand without them,” suggests Busaidi.
Inside Stories moderator, Haribi said, “We’re all responsible for the image of manufacturing; it’s vital to Oman’s future prosperity and it’s important to invest in the skills needed to maintain its strength. Together with business, it’s crucial we inspire more young people to see manufacturing as a viable and exciting career choice.”
Inside Stories is free to attend and registration can be done on events.ithraa.om
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