To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Generation Y workforce expectations: implications for the UAE

Hwee Ling Lim (Department of Arts & Sciences, The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Article publication date: 2 November 2012



The United Arab Emirates' demographics show the entry of a large Generation Y (Gen Y) segment into the workforce. Companies need talented human resources hence this trend has implications for the country's continued economic growth. However, little is known about Gen Y in the UAE. Furthermore, the asymmetric distributions of the population and labor force by nationality, positively skewed for expatriates, present a diverse population that challenges our understanding of this generation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the life priorities and work preferences of Gen Y Emiratis and expatriates, so that organizations can effectively recruit this new generation into the nation's workforce.


Survey and interview results from Schwartz Value Inventory and Twenge et al.'s motivational model were analyzed for correspondence between life priority and work preference choices, and differences in preferences of Emiratis and expatriates.


Emirati and expatriate Gen Y regarded seeking stability as the most important life priority and were most motivated by extrinsic rewards. However, differences were found in the ranking of other life values and in comparison with the literature.


This research extended previous studies and increases understanding of Gen Y at work. Moreover, recommendations for the effective recruitment and retention are provided to help organizations manage this young generation who are central to the future of the Middle East.



Ling Lim, H. (2012), "Generation Y workforce expectations: implications for the UAE", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 281-293.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited