Gender-based differences in employment conditions of local and expatriate workers in the GCC context: Empirical evidence from the United Arab Emirates

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – The labor force participation rates of females have been increasing steadily over the past few decades in the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and are expected to continue to increase due to increasing levels of education and social change. While, there is a substantive amount of literature on the issues of gender gap in wages and employment conditions in Western developed economies, the evidence from developing economies – especially in the Middle East – remains very scant. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to bridging this gap by examining gender-based differences in employment conditions for local and expatriate workers in the context of the GCC region. Design/methodology/approach – The authors utilize a data set from the 2007 cross-section Dubai Labor Market Survey which covers a stratified random sample of employees in the UAE labor market. In addition to descriptive statistics and cross-tabulations of the data by workers’ gender, nationality, and various characteristics of their employment conditions, two empirical models intended to investigate factors that influence access to employment and wage determination of male and female workers in the UAE labor market were estimated. Findings – The findings of the study reveal that there are gender-based differences and inequity in employment in the UAE labor market. The authors highlight specific impacts of contextual factors on the employment conditions of women compared to men. The gender gap in the UAE context is compounded by nationality effects; whereby gender-based differences become less apparent in the case of foreign workers compared to UAE nationals. Originality/value – This paper is one of very few studies that addressed the gender gap in employment conditions in the Arab Middle Eastern or GCC context. The paper uses quantitative data from a large random sample of workers in the UAE.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-415
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


    • Disadvantaged groups
    • Earnings
    • Employment
    • Equal opportunities
    • Expatriates
    • Gender

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Strategy and Management
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
    • Management of Technology and Innovation


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