Oman Air’s Human Resources Department has achieved notable successes in its recruitment and Omanisation plan over the period 2014-15, according to Dr Rashid bin Mohammed Al Ghailani, Chief Officer Human Resources. With the implementation of the HR manual approved by the Board in 2014, the company has achieved 94% of its recruitment Plan during 2014, thus increasing the rate of Omanisation, with ample focus on both quality and quantity.
Dr Al Ghailani explained that in developing the Airline’s promotions procedures, full consideration was given to corporate objectives equal to staff career development aims, attention was given to practical recruitment procedures in addition to benefits and compensation policies.
Two forms of promotion are available to company staff as per the new manual. Horizontal promotion – known as band promotion and vertical promotion – referred to as grade promotion were implemented. Band promotion gives a 9% increase on basic salary. 540 staff were promoted during 2014, of whom 460 received band promotion and 80 received grade promotion.
In 2015, 654 promotions were processed as well. Of these, the Promotions Review Committee of Oman Air has approved 522 staff for band promotions, whilst 132 received grade promotions.
The promotions covered all staff and all departments. They are allocated to departments on a pro rata basis, depending on the number of staff employed.
As set out in the HR manual, an additional type of grade change enables recruitment to higher grades. Any staff who have completed two years in their grades can apply for higher positions. In 2014, 391 staff were selected to higher grades through recruitment process, and as of Sept 2015, 367 staff have been selected to higher grades through same procedures. Accordingly Oman Air policy opens the door wide to those who are competent to apply to higher positions with no restrictions to grade jumps. This competitive work environment provides employees with the potential to grow based on their competiveness.
Under these circumstances, staff can be promoted by more than one grade. This is dependent on the candidate’s capabilities to fulfil the job description of the available position. Equal opportunity is given to internal and external candidates to compete for open vacancies, with the candidate who scores the highest marks during the recruitment process being offered the position.
“We are pleased to say that our procedures are fully explained in the Employee Handbook, which is available on Oman Air’s intranet. We urge all employees to aware of policies and procedures.
In 2015, Oman Air promoted 654 staff, of whom 522 received band promotions and 132 received grade promotions. In addition to promotions and as of Sept 2015, 367 employees were selected to higher position through recruitment procedures. Almost similar numbers were achieved during 2014, bringing the total number of promotions to 1194 and recruitment to higher positions to 758” Says Dr Rashid Al Ghailani, Chief Officer HR at Oman Air.
The current ongoing expansion of Oman Air’s fleet and network presents significant recruitment activity and the company has taken important steps to cope with the resulting challenges.
In 2014, 94% of Oman Air’s recruitment plan was achieved. Around 500 staff were recruited, and joined the company in Muscat and in many international outstations including the newly created destinations. The first half of 2015 has seen a similar rate of growth.
By the end of Sept 2015, 615 new staff had joined the company. Much of this recruitment was to meet the needs of Flight Operations, as the HR department serves the expansion of the fleet. Roles recruited include captains, cabin crew, flight operations, ground handling and customer service agents. In addition to recruiting load controllers, drivers and operators besides a number of engineering roles, where technicians and specialist staff have been taken on to work on newly introduced B787 Dreamliners.
In parallel with this growth, qualified and experienced staff have been hired at the supervisory and managerial level. The recruitment of this group was focused primarily on Omanis, but the company has also been able to attract capable people from outside the Sultanate.
The Human Resources Department’s work within the areas of recruitment and promotion has been undertaken in close coordination with the Ministry of Manpower. A committee has been created to monitor the manpower requirements of Oman Air and other companies, and to provide support during the recruitment and promotion processes. The committee is chaired by Dr Younis Al Akhzami, CEO of the Public Authority for Manpower Register, is supported by Mr Yusuf Al Muttawa, Deputy Director General of Employment at the Ministry of Manpower. Meetings are conducted on a regular basis to establish how the manpower requirements of Omani businesses can best be supported.
“Oman Air’s current expansion programme offers outstanding employment opportunities, especially within Flight Operations. In 2014, we recruited 500 staff, representing 94% of our recruitment plan, and by the end of July 2015, we had recruited a further 615 candidates. We are a major recruiter of qualified and capable Omani citizens.” Dr Rashid adds.
Oman Air is fully committed to the Sultanate’s policy of Omanisation, and closely monitors the company’s recruitment and retention of Omani staff. At the start of 2015, the Omanisation rate at Oman Air stood at 59%. By the end of July 2015, that rate had increased to almost 62%.
Staff number has increased dramatically over the last five years, together with the Omanisation rate over the same period. The company stresses that the policy of Omanisation focuses not only on the number of Omani citizens employed, but also on the quality, experience and expertise that candidates offer.
“Oman Air has been a committed and a vocal supporter of Omanisation ever since this national policy was introduced. Whilst our international expansion presents challenges to increasing the percentage of Oman Air’s Omani staff, it also brings opportunities. We are therefore pleased that since the start of 2015, the proportion of Oman staff that Oman Air employs has increased from 59% to almost 62%, and that figure will continue to increase.”
Omanisation in Flight Operations
Serious efforts are being made to recruit more Omani pilots. By the end of 2015, we aim to have filled pilot posts with suitably qualified and experienced Omanis. The current percentage of Omani pilots in Flight Operations is 48.62%, and the company anticipates that this figure will increase, as two groups of pilots will soon complete their training.
The hiring of young Omani pilots by Oman Air has been reinvigorated following a decision to revise the recruitment process. Furthermore, the entire process of recruitment and training is now overseen by Flight Operations under the leadership of Chief Officer Flight Operations Captain Ali bin Hassan Sulaiman and his colleague Captain Khalid Al Hashmi.
Flight Operations is determined to improve on the current rate of Omanisation, whilst closely monitoring the rate of fleet expansion and the quality of the pilots. However, it is worth emphasizing that Oman Air has always been steadfast on ensuring high standards required of all our pilots are met with no compromise on the safety of its passengers.
The company has emphasized that no limits are put into efforts made to provide job opportunities to young Omanis. In addition to pilot recruitment, a great focus is put into improving the percentage of Omani citizens employed within the area of cabin crew. By the end of 2015, it is expected that 32% of cabin crew posts will be Omanised.
Of the 1383 cabin crew and senior flight supervisors employed by the airline, 477 are Omanis. Of this number, 315 are cabin crew and 125 are senior flight supervisors.
The company has also taken a further step to improve the rate of Omanisation by aiming for a team that comprises 50% male staff and 50% female staff. This recognizes the challenge of recruiting Omani women, due to social and cultural factors. However, there are plans to increase the number of Omani women employed as cabin crew and as a result, the number of Omani women working as cabin crew is 44 by end of October this year.
With cabin crew recruitment also targeting men, Omanisation rate within this area of Oman Air’s operations is expected to increase dramatically. A further boost was provided by company revision of the lower age limit for recruitment to become 18 instead of 21, giving secondary school students a realistic opportunity to pursue their dream job.
“The changes we have introduced to our recruitment of Omani pilots are delivering tangible results and their presence within the company will continue to increase. We are also offering outstanding opportunities for Omani cabin crew and we will see an increase in Omanised posts to 32% by the end of 2015.” Dr Rashid elaborates.
Omanisation in Engineering
Within Engineering, a satisfying growth in the number of Omanis recruited has been witnessed. The proportion of Omani technicians and engineering staff employed within Engineering had reached 62% by end of September 2015, excluding administrative posts.
“These encouraging developments reflect the commitment of Eng. Salim Al Kindy and Eng. Adhil Al Shaibany, who have a clear plan for increasing the number of qualified engineers at all levels within the department. They are assisted by Oman Air’s positive development plan, which is attracting the best qualified Omani engineers to this field.
“The commitment of the Engineering team and the clear vision we have for this field, is delivering important increases in the number of Omani engineers employed by the company.”
Serious efforts are also being made throughout Oman Air to improve the academic qualification held by staff. To date, 2361 of the Airline staff have achieved secondary school qualifications, whilst the number of staff who hold a diploma or other higher award has increased to 770 employees. In addition, 260 of staff – primarily working on the ramp, in the call center or as customer services assistants are academically qualified to secondary school standards.
The company provides positive assistance to staff who want to raise their academic achievements. The Training and Development Department has announced a number of support scholarships for Omani employees who wish to pursue their diplomas, Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. In addition, the company has created a new job level for fresh graduates and this is attracting many more applications from candidates with higher qualifications.
“Oman Air is taking concerted action, including the introduction of 50 scholarships, to improve the academic qualifications of Oman Air’s staff. This will not only benefit Oman Air and its workforce, but also sets a positive example for employers throughout the Sultanate.” Concludes Dr Rashid.