Exploring career choices of Emirati women in the technology sector

Liza Howe-Walsh, Sarah Turnbull, Saleena Khan, Vijay Pereira

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    Purpose - The study explores the factors that influence Emirati women’s career choice in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We contribute to the influence of context in career choices by investigating how Emirati women chose IT as a profession through the lens of Social Cognitive Career Theory.

    Design/methodology/approach - We undertook in-depth interviews with twenty-one Emirati women working in technology in the UAE. The study considers women’s career choices at three levels i.e. from an individual, organisational and national context perspective.

    Findings - Key findings include identifying the importance of national context in influencing career choices among other factors such as family centrality; desire to be seen as a role model, company reputation and government policy.

    Practical implications - The study has wider implications for women’s career choices in other contexts. The findings highlight the challenges women face, such as a lack of role models and family centrality, which need to be considered in recruitment policies and practices in other national contexts.

    Originality/value - The originality of the study is its contribution to the literature developing understanding of the influences on women’s career choices in the Emirates. While previous studies have identified the role of patriarchal influence on women’s careers, we have less understanding of the importance attributed to individual factors such as being perceived as a role model within their family and to society. Similarly, the literature provides limited evidence of the influence of factors such as Government sponsorship and company reputation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-114
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance
    Issue number1
    Early online date18 Mar 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2020


    • careers
    • social cognitive career theory
    • qualitative research
    • Emirati Women
    • technology


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