Complex Made Simple

STEM: Jobs of the Future

In a global economy, however, employers are looking for higher-skilled workers with post-secondary education and specialized STEM skills sets

Ithraa’s Oman at Work seminar ‘STEM: Jobs of the Future,’ to be held 16 September at Bank Muscat Head Office will explore how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers will drive Oman’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, companies, products and industries.

“In the decades to come, it’s crucial that Oman’s youth be encouraged to pursue STEM degrees, apprenticeships and careers. I strongly believe that both our traditional and emerging industries will rely on STEM-trained workers to ensure our future economic success,” explained Dr. Nadiya Al Saady, Executive Director, Oman Animal, Plant & Genetic Resources Center (OAPGRC) who will lead the session.

The four part Oman at Work seminar series has been designed by Ithraa, Oman’s inward investment and export promotion agency, to help the sultanate’s public and private sector better understand the challenges and opportunities of today’s evolving work environment and the fundamental impact this is having on the sultanate and its ability to remain competitive in today’s turbulent global economy.

Joining the OAPGRC Executive Director on the 16 September Oman at Work panel will be Dr. Sana Al Balushi; Rayan Al Kalbani; Dr. Mohammed Al Mugheiry; Dr. Wael Al Harrasi; Dr. Basel Dayyani; and Salim Al Mahrooqi.

Education, suggests Dr. Al Saady, is the bedrock of competitiveness – the engine, not simply an input, of the economy. “Every aspect of our education system – from kindergarten through primary, secondary, tertiary to apprenticeships, on-the-job training and teacher training programs – must be aligned to equip Oman’s citizens with the 21st century STEM skills they need to compete.”

It is widely accepted that Oman’s long-term future success is directly tied to the quality and skills of its workforce. Historically, a location’s attraction has often been based on its ability to offer cheap land and labour. In a global economy, however, employers are looking for higher-skilled workers with post-secondary education and specialized STEM skills sets. According to the US Department of Labour, only 5 per cent of US workers are employed in STEM-related fields, yet are responsible for more than 50 per cent of the country’s sustained economic expansion.

It is clear that the future of work will be STEM-driven, and that is where the high-paying jobs of tomorrow will be. Indeed, increasing international competition will require Oman to promote and support a vibrant STEM community, one that produces engineers, mathematicians, scientists, technologists and researchers, the human talent required to take Oman forward in the 21st century. To accomplish this, students must have access to top-quality STEM education that is engaging, motivating and leads to higher order thinking skills.

This is an important time for Omani employers, the global labour market is changing rapidly and Omani businesses need to keep pace with the new ways of working if they are to attract and retain the right talent, skills, necessary investment and boost the sultanate’s non-oil exports.

“We need to recognize that the demand for STEM-trained Omani talent is only going to increase over the coming years. And my 16 September Oman at Work panel will be looking at ways in which we can effectively and positively respond to that growing demand,” concluded the OAPGRC Executive Director.