Strategic Career Management in the UAE

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The concept of career management has quickly become a subject of concern for Human Resource departments since the competitiveness on the market continues to grow. It is particularly important to study career management within the context of the UAE, the country with the most competitive environment in the Gulf region. This research will focus on studying the processes of strategic career management in the UAE because of the lack of studies that explored the topic. The qualitative data will be gathered through interviews, observations, and questionnaires conducted with employers and managers in a UAE company for achieving high levels of reliability.

While the concept of Strategic Career Management was disregarded three decades ago, the quick pace of modern business development encourages employees and their managers to adapt and change in order to be successful in their careers. This became possible with the help of career management, a process targeted at helping individual workers to realise their goals through appropriate interventions such as counseling and career planning. This research will be targeted at investigating the processes of strategic career management in the context of the United Arab Emirates, a country that offers tremendous opportunities to employees due to an extensive range of developing areas of business operations. It is important to study this topic because of the gap in the literature regarding the processes of career management in UAE.

Research Questions and Objectives

The bulk of research conducted on the issue of career management focused on how employees can achieve both personal and organisational goals with the usage of appropriate interventions (Wesarat, Sharif & Majid 2014); however, studies show a gap when it comes to analysing the subject in relation to a specific cultural context, especially the Gulf region. Thus, this research will focus on answering the following questions:

  1. What is the extent of the strategic career management adoption in UAE companies?
  2. What are the employees’ perceptions of the career management efforts in UAE companies?
  3. Is there a difference in the way companies in UAE implement strategic career management compared to companies in the West (specifically in Europe)?

The research questions listed above were formulated based on the lack of available studies that would investigate the impact of career management on employees that work in either small or large UAE companies. Answering these questions will be possible by involving a sample of workers from a UAE company (discussed further in the Methodology section). However, it is first important to outline research objectives that will give a better understanding about how the concept of career management will be approached. The research objectives include:

  1. To identify the characteristics of goal-orientation in career management within the context of a UAE company.
  2. To find the extent to which employers introduce career management into the interactions with employees.
  3. To find out the attitudes of employees towards career management implementation.
  4. To compare cultural implications of career management in a UAE company and a “standard” company in Europe.
  5. To measure the extent to which employees are engaged in the career management efforts implemented by employers.

Literature Review

The review of the available literature found that the bulk of research on career management focused on boosting employees’ motivation and commitment, improving behaviour, and enhancing participation in development activities (Patrick & Kumar 2011). However, the cultural peculiarities of career management, especially with regards to the Gulf countries, have not been studied in great detail, which presents an opportunity to conducting this research. According to the article posted in The Economist journal, the business environment in the United Arab Emirates is booming (Improving the desert climate 2014), which suggests that companies are presented with an array of new opportunities. More opportunities mean increased competitiveness, as mentioned by Das Augustine (2016).

The UAE continue to be on the top of the list of other countries in the Arab world. To be successful and stay competitive, modern companies have to invest into supporting the human resources and keeping them motivated. Career management in the context of the UAE has become a fruitful sphere of corporate operations because effective support of employees leads to higher performance indicators (Markos & Sridevi 2010).

With regards to the management theory that will be incorporated in the research, career management is associated with the Administrative Theory developed by Henri Fayol. The theory suggests that the improvement of the upper management will lead to the improvement of employees. In strategic career management, employers work towards developing means to accomplish the established objectives and become examples for employees in how they can improve their careers (Ilies 2011).


The objectives of the research imply that the study will be predominantly qualitative because the methods of gathering data will include interviews, questionnaires, and observations. To find out the attitudes of employees and employers towards the processes of strategic career management in their company, questionnaires, interviews, and observations will be the most suitable because they will allow for a high level of anonymity and do not require a lot of time. The sample size for the research will include all employees in a UAE company; however, at least 30 employees and 10 managers should be selected to get reliable and valid results. Survey questionnaires will include questions with multiple-choice answers.

The interviews with employees and managers will be conducted in an informal atmosphere and during regular conversations to make sure that study participants do not feel pressurised into answering questions that are associated with their managers. Observations will relate to analysing how the company approaches the concept of career management: if there are coaching sessions, it will be beneficial to be present during them and observe the interactions between workers and employers. The acquired data will be further analysed and reviewed in order to determine the peculiarities of career management processes in a UAE company.

Research Significance and Contribution

Because there is a gap in the available literature with regards to career management in UAE countries, this study will become the first step in filling the gap and facilitating more research on similar topics. The cultural context plays an important role in this research because the current business environment of the United Arab Emirates is developing at a rapid pace and calls for strategically planned actions from corporations’ management in order to maintain competitive advantage and expand. The research will also bring benefit to the UAE professionals starting a career in the sphere of Human Resource Management since it will provide an insight into how employees motivate themselves or how they get motivated by their managers to become more efficient in their performance and move up the career ladder.

Reference List

Das Augustine, B 2016. UAE tops Arab world in global competitiveness ranking. Web.

Ilies, C 2011. Career management perspective in public administration. Web.

‘Improving the desert climate’. 2014. The Economist. Web.

Markos, S & Sridevi, S. 2010. ‘Employee engagement: the key to improving performance’, International Journal of Business and Management, vol. 5, no. 12, pp. 89-96.

Patrick, H & Kumar, A. 2011. ‘Career management, employee development and performance in India information technology organisations’, Business Management Dynamics, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 24-31.

Wesarat, P, Sharif, M & Majid, A. 2014. ‘A review of organisational and individual career management: A dual perspective’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 101-113.

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