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Abstract

This study examines factors leading to unemployment among young Emirati adults and new entrants to the workforce despite the abundant employment opportunities available in the UAE private sector. The study points out that new entrants to the workforce, including a growing number of college graduates, find few opportunities in the preferred but saturated public sector so they are faced with a three-part employment decision: considering employment in the private sector for a long-term career, entering the private sector temporarily, or remaining unemployed until an opportunity emerges in the public sector. The study sheds light on the obvious question, “Why would Emirati youth prefer to remain unemployed when so many private sector jobs are available?”, by examining and identifying factors for Emirati job satisfaction. More than 1,000 Emirati participants employed in both public and private sectors responded to a quantitative survey rating aspects of job satisfaction. Quantitative data, supported by open ended responses, indicated that culturally friendly work environments and flexibility to manage family responsibilities were the most important factors for job satisfaction and employment decisions most Emiratis and especially for Emirati women. The study concludes that the most important factor for young Emiratis, especially women, is a workplace aligned with the culture in which they operate embodying the concept of holistic sustainability.