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Is it All About the Money? Motivations and Preferences for Work Across Emirati and Non-Emirati Youth in the UAE

This policy paper examines the values and preferences of United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) youth regarding work and the workplace. Drawing on interviews with non-Emirati and Emirati youth, the study reveals key factors influencing their employment decisions. Flexibility in the workplace, opportunities for growth, and a supportive environment emerge as critical considerations. Additionally, the desire for meaningful, purposeful work transcends financial compensation. Emirati and non-Emirati youth exhibit nuanced differences in their priorities for work and the work environment. While both value supportive environments, the study finds that Emirati youth are more likely to prefer work closer to home and work environments where there is lenience and flexibility in terms of management style compared to their non-Emirati counterparts. It also finds that non-Emirati youth value supportive environments for goals of career advancement and financial stability as opposed to Emirati youth who value nurturing environments for reasons of personal development and purposeful work. Understanding these distinct motivators is essential for organizations seeking to attract, engage, and retain young talent in the UAE's rapidly growing economy. 

Recommended citation: Lee, S., Farhat, J., & Supi, A. (2023). Is it All About the Money? Motivations and Preferences for Work Across Emirati and Non-Emirati Youth in the UAE (Policy Paper No. 68). Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

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