The Work Commitment of UAE Generation Y Employees

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 40
Words: 15653
Reading time:
52 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Background

Generations of people emerge with differences in experience, values, attitudes, ambitions, and mindsets. Changing demographic attributes across the world have a marked effect on human resources. The current population of the UAE (Lim 2013) comprises the Traditionalists (1925 to 1945), the Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964), the Generation X individuals (1965 to 1979), the Generation Y individuals (1980 to1999), and the Generation Z individuals (since 2000). These generations contribute to the workforce differently for they vary not only in their proportion but also in their experiences, values, mindsets, ambitions, and attributes. As a generational change is a major factor that influences the changes in demographic attributes of the workforce, the proportion of a generation determines the magnitude of the influence. In the UAE, Generation Y is the latest generation in the workforce representing individuals born in the 1980s and 1990s (Lim 2012). Hence, the ages of individuals in Generation Y range from 18 years to 37 years. Generation Y employees contribute significantly to the UAE workforce for they comprise about half of the population. According to Lim (2013), Generation Y employees increase by 9% annually and they represent 45% of the workforce in the UAE. The entry of Generation Y employees into the workforce has considerable implications for they comprise a generation with unique demographic attributes. In comparison, the older generation (Generation X) and the younger generation (Generation Z) constitute 26% and 22% of the workforce in the UAE respectively. In this view, it is apparent that Generation Y employees constitute the dominant segment of the workforce in the UAE, and thus, they contribute significantly to organizational activities.

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The analysis of Generation Y employees shows that their unique attributes and their proportion in the UAE make them stand out in the workforce. In the workplace, Generation Y employees are youthful aged between 18 and 37 years, and thus, they have a huge productive potential as employees (Holt, Marques & Way 2012). Moreover, since Generation Y employees grew up in an era where education is advanced and accessible, they comprise highly-educated and skilled employees. According to Valentine and Powers (2013), career growth and development are among the key dreams and achievements of Generation Y employees. Having been born in the era of information technology, Valentine and Powers (2013) describe Generation Y as tech-savvy and highly connected individuals to the global world for their own computers, laptops, tablet, and smartphones. Technological skills coupled with the advancement in technological applications in workplaces make Generation Y employees productive when compared to employees in previous generations. Consequently, Viswanathan and Jain (2013) note that Generation Y employees are adaptable to change and versatile since they have established innovative ways of doing work, which is more efficient and effective when compared to the conventional ways. Thus, based on their potential as highly skilled and tech-savvy employees, it implies that the work commitment of Generation Y in modern organizations has a huge impact.

Since extrinsic and intrinsic factors motivate employees and enhance their commitment to work, Generation Y employees rely on intrinsic factors as the source of their motivation and commitment. Kong, Wang, and Fu (2015) established that intrinsic factors such as career growth, work-life balance, meaningful work, and freedom values promote the work commitment among Generation Y employees. According to Flanagan (2015), Generation Y employees are committed to working in an environment where there are collaboration and teamwork for they are the source of their motivation. In this view, it is apparent that intrinsic factors motivate Generation Y employees than extrinsic factors. The relationship between intrinsic factors and the work commitment of employees define the work commitment of Generation Y employees. In a study, Yundong (2015) established that intrinsic motivation predicts the work commitment of employees for it has strong positive relationships with continuance, affective, and normative aspects of commitment. In this perspective, it means that organizations ought to provide intrinsic motivation for Generation Y employees to improve their work commitment and consequently their performance. Additionally, Generation Y employees are unique in the aspect of demographic experiences. Queiri and Dwaikat (2016) argue that as Generation Y employees saw how their parents (baby boomers) endured hardships in their workplaces, they are not willing to endure the same experience. Therefore, human resources managers ought to understand that Generation Y employees have unique demographic attributes, experiences, and expectations.

The work commitment of employees in the workplace is subject to many factors, including work-related and non-work-related factors. According to Queiri and Dwaikat (2016), Generation Y employees tend to quit their jobs due to the absence of empowerment, training, and career development, which are intrinsic motivators. In contrast, Generation X and Baby Boomers tend to rely on extrinsic motivators such as money, status, and positions. Since there is a positive relationship between intrinsic motivation and work commitment (Yundong 2015), it applies to Generation Y employees. Previous studies have established that non-work-related factors that influence the work commitment of employees are economic status, spiritual values, gender, age, academic level, and job status (Nieuwenhuis et al. 2016; Dehaghi, Goodarzi & Arazi 2012; Lee & Chen 2013). According to Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016), the economic status of a neighborhood in which employees stayed during their adolescent period influences their job commitment in the future. In the aspect of spirituality, Dehaghi, Goodarzi, and Arazi (2012) hold that it increases the work commitment of employees by enhancing loyalty, responsibility, and involvement. Regarding demographic attributes such as gender, age, job status, and academic level, numerous studies have established that they have a statistically significant influence on the work commitment of employees (Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015; Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2017; Lee & Chen 2013). Therefore, as the previous findings demonstrated that non-work-related factors influence the work commitment of employees, this study seeks to demonstrate the extent to which demographic attributes, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Statement of the Problem

Human resources managers experience difficulties in the attraction, recruitment, and retention of Generation Y employees in various sectors and companies in the UAE. This study holds that family background, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment are factors that affect the work commitment of Generation Y employees. In the aspect of family background, the research gap is that most studies have focused on demographic attributes of employees but neglected demographic attributes of family members. Owing to limited findings, the study hypothesizes that attributes of family background such as academic qualification of parents, paternal job level, wealth status, and sibling position are familial factors that influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees. An earlier study by Lee and Chen (2013) established that demographical attributes, which form part of the family background, have a marked influence on the work commitment of employees in their respective workplaces. In their literature review, Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy, and Swamy (2017) noted that gender, age, education level, and job status are some of the demographical attributes that influence the work commitment of employees in the workplace. An empirical study demonstrated that there is a statistically significant positive association between demographic attributes, such as gender, marital status, age, and academic qualification, and organizational commitment (Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015). Despite the understanding of the influence of demographic attributes of employees on their commitment, human resources managers continue to grapple with the challenge of attraction, recruitment, and retention. Therefore, the rationale of the study has its basis on these findings for it seeks to find out if the family background of Generation Y employees in the UAE influences the work commitment in the workplace.

The study holds that neighborhood economic status is a non-work-related factor that influences the work commitment of Generation Y employees. The research gap is that current studies demonstrating the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of employees in the workplace are limited globally and lacking in the context of the UAE. In their study among Dutch youth, Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016) found out that neighborhood economic status is a statistically significant predictor of the work commitment of employees. In this view, exposure to neighborhood economic status at the adolescent stage determines the work commitment of employees to their work later in life. Acar (2014) argues that the experiences of Generation Y employees in their families, neighborhood, and society have shaped their attitudes, mindsets, and values, which are critical factors that determine commitment to their respective organizations. The study of the effects of the economic status of a neighborhood in terms of richness and employment rates provides a parameter for the work commitment among employees. Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016) explain that the socialization mechanism elucidates how unemployment and low work commitment are common among poor neighborhoods. The rationale for the socialization mechanism is that the youth share values, attitudes, and mindsets, which have a marked influence on their motivation and commitment to work or organizations. Brattbakk and Wessel (2013) hold that there is a strong correlation between neighborhood economic status and the work commitment among employees. On this rationale, it is arguable to state that neighborhood economic status is a considerable factor that contributes to the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

Religious commitment is another non-work-related factor that influences the work commitment of employees. In countries that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) such as the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, Islam is the dominant religion, and thus, it has a significant influence on the work ethics of Generation Y employees. According to Dehaghi, Goodarzi, and Arazi (2012), adherence to spiritual values influences the work commitment of employees to their organizations by increasing responsibility, loyalty, and involvement in the workplace. In their study among Emiratis, Sarwar and Abugre (2013) add that devotion to religious beliefs, values, principles, and practices reflect the commitment of employees to their organizations. In essence, the religious behavior of employees is directly proportional to their work commitment in the UAE. According to Choerudin (2015), cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of individuals reflect their religious commitment. The cognitive dimension reflects the extent to which individuals understand their religious beliefs and doctrines whereas the affective dimension reflects the extent to which individuals attach their emotions to religious beliefs and doctrines. As individuals espouse their religious beliefs and doctrine, the behavioral dimension reflects the extent of adoption and promotion in the workplace. Evidently, Choerudin (2015) demonstrated that religious commitment accounts for 16.7% of the variation in organizational commitment among employees. Given that religious involvement, religious loyalty, and responsibility stem from religious commitment, they are critical factors that determine the work commitment of employees in the workplace. Salahudin et al. (2016) assert that Islamic work ethics have marked influence the work commitment of employees for it influences the three dimensions of commitment, namely, normative, affective, and continuance. Since Islam is the dominant religion in the UAE and countries in the GCC, it has incorporated its values, principles, and beliefs in work ethics. In this view, the study avers that organizational commitment among Generation Y employees stems from their religious commitment to Islamic values, beliefs, and principles.

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Additionally, numerous studies have established that work-related factors such as intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence the commitment, attraction, recruitment, and retention of employees (Lim 2012; Franco & Lyapina 2016; Ismail & Ahmed 2015; Mafini & Dlodlo 2014). Usually, the impacts on intrinsic factors are dependent on the satisfaction of extrinsic factors for they are the primary motivators in the workplace. Since the UAE is a developed country where extrinsic factors such as salary, status, and rewards no longer have a significant effect on the work commitment of employees, intrinsic factors play a central role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees (Lim 2013). In this view, the UAE has a challenge of meeting the intrinsic needs of Generation Y employees given that they have matchless attributes and needs. Acar (2014) notes that Generation Y employees are unique because they focus on their careers, comprehend technology, exhibit collaborative tendencies, and prefer prompt reward and recognition. As a result, managers experience immense challenges in trying to motivate employees with generational diversity. Yusoff and Kian (2013) recommend managers understand the different needs of employees and customize their procedures and operations to meet diverse needs. Maceda (2017) adds that managers in the UAE have not met the needs of Emirati employees because over 85% are disengaged from their organizations. Hence, the rationale of the study is that the understanding of the needs and motivators of Generation Y employees is integral in promoting their commitment.

Purpose of Research

The purpose of the study is to establish the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. These non-work-related factors are demographic attributes, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment for they apply not only to the UAE but also to other GCC countries. Ample studies have demonstrated that the demographic attributes of employees have a marked influence on their commitment (Lee & Chen 2013; Saha 2016; Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2017). In their empirical study, Affum-Osei, Acquaah, and Acheampong (2015) established that gender, age, marital status, and academic qualification are outstanding demographic attributes influencing the work commitment of employees in their organizations. According to Saha (2016), employees who are female, mature, married, and with high academic qualifications are more committed than employees who are male, young, single, and with low academic qualifications. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to assess the extent to which demographic attributes such as a father’s academic qualification, job level, wealth status, and birth order of employees influence their commitment to the workplace.

As the economic status of a neighborhood has a considerable influence on the work commitment of employees, the purpose of the study is to ascertain how the neighborhood economic status of Emiratis influences their commitment to their organizations, particularly Generation Y employees. Numerous studies support the assertion that youthful experiences of employees play a critical role in their lives when they grow up. A study conducted by Nieuwenhuis et al. (2016) confirmed that neighborhood economic status is a statistically significant predictor of employee commitment to work. Acar (2014) adds that the attitudes, values, principles, and mindsets of Generation Y employees emanate from youthful experiences. The socialization mechanism promotes sharing of values, attitudes, principles, and mindsets, which shape the perception of work, and eventually, commitment to organizations. Based on the premise of socialization, the purpose of the study is to ascertain the extent to which neighborhood economic status explains the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE and apply findings to other GCC countries.

The purpose of the study is also to ascertain the impact of religious commitment on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. Being a country with the dominant Islamic religion, Generation Y employees have common religious beliefs, values, and principles that shape their work ethics. In an Islamic setup, organizations cherish and incorporate religious beliefs and doctrines into their organizational values and principles. In essence, the basis of organizational culture is Islamic beliefs and doctrines. Choerudin (2015) holds that cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of religious commitment have a marked impact on the work commitment of employees in the workplace. In the context of the UAE, Salahudin et al. (2016) observed note that Islamic work ethics predict normative, affective, and continuance aspects of organizational commitment. In this perspective, the study aims to assess how cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of religious commitment influence the work commitment of employees.

Overall, the purpose of the study is to ascertain to which degree demographic attributes, neighborhood economic index, and religious commitment contribute to the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE and other GCC countries. Since demographic attributes, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment are non-work-related factors, their assessment among Generation Y employees would reveal how they influence organizational commitment. The theoretical basis of the research purpose is that background experiences at the family level, neighborhood economic status, and commitment to Islamic religions are latent non-work-related factors, which collectively determine the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

Research Objectives

  1. To determine the influence of demographic attributes of family background on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE
  2. To determine the influence of neighborhood economic status on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE
  3. To determine the influence of religious commitment of Generation Y employees on the work commitment in the UAE

Main Research Question

What is the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE?

Research Questions

  1. What is the influence of biographic attributes of family background on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE?
  2. What is the influence of neighborhood economic status on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE?
  3. What is the influence of the religious commitment of Generation Y employees on the work commitment in the UAE?

Hypothesis

  1. Biographic attributes of family background have a statistically significant influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.
  2. neighborhood economic status has a statistically significant influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.
  3. Religious commitment has a statistically significant influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Scope

The study focuses on examining the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. The study will examine how demographic attributes of the family background of employees, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment of employees impact their work commitment in their respective organizations. In the family background, the study will examine paternal academic qualification, paternal job level, wealth status, and sibling order. In neighborhood economic status, religious commitment, and employee commitment, the study will use established scales with a high degree of reliability score. In this view, the study will not examine the influence of other non-work-related factors apart from demographic attributes of employees’ background, neighborhood economic status, and spirituality of employees.

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Regarding sample size, the study will sample 400 employees belonging to Generation Y. The sample size of 400 adequately represents the Generation Y population and is practically feasible to sample from the population. As the study targets Generation Y employees, the ages of employees targeted range from 18 to 37 years. In this view, the study will not examine employees older than 37 years. Moreover, the study will examine Generation Y employees who are citizens of the UAE, and thus, the study will not include expatriates in its sample population. Since Generation Y employees are in both public and private organizations, the study will focus on the employees in the public organizations. According to Thompson and Wissink (2016), despite efforts of Emiratization, the proportion of Emiratis in the private sector is still very low. In this view, most of the Generation Y Emirati employees are in the public organizations following the Emiratization policy. According to a national survey, Emiratis prefer working in the public sector because it provides good working conditions and favorable remuneration (John 2015). Hence, preference of working would not confound the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the public sector. Moreover, since Emiratis are dominant in the public sector and share the same socioeconomic and religious experiences, they represent a homogenous population that is appropriate for the study to come up with valid and generalizable findings.

The findings of the research will have significant implications on organizations in the UAE for it would indicate how demographic attributes, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment of Generation Y employees impact their commitment to work. As managers in various organizations grapple with the challenge of retention of employees, the findings of this study will enable managers to understand the extent to which demographic factors, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment contribute to the work commitment of Generation Y employees. The study will promote the understanding of demographic factors relating to family background, such as father’s economic status and academic level, which shape experiences of Generation Y employees, and thus, determine their commitment. Moreover, the study will elucidate how neighborhood economic status shapes attitudes, ambitions, and values of employees, hence, leveraging them in promoting the work commitment of Generation Y employees. Given that Islam is the dominant religion in the UAE and the GCC region, the analysis of the religious commitment and its effects on the work commitment of employees will provide empirical findings to managers. In general, the study will enable organizations in the UAE to improve the work commitment of Generation Y employees by leveraging and considering demographic attributes, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment of Generation Y Emirati employees in their management strategies. The findings from the study will promote the management of Generation Y employees for managers will utilize them in making evidence-based decisions aimed at improving the work commitment of employees in the UAE.

The study will generate valid findings and add to the body of knowledge relating to the management of Generation Y employees in various organizations in the UAE and the GCC region. Since the work commitment of employees is a management issue across the world, the study will shade more light on non-work-related factors that have a marked influence on it. In this view, the study will elucidate how demographic factors such as a father’s academic level, job level, economic status, and birth order influence the work commitment level of Generation Y employees. In the aspect of neighborhood economic status, the study aims to contribute to the body of knowledge that socioeconomic forces play a central role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees. The current studies have illustrated that age, gender, marital status, and academic qualification predict the level of work commitment among employees. Thus, this study seeks to illustrate further that neighborhood economic status is a predictor of the work commitment among Generation Y employees in the UAE. As religion is an integral part of the organizational culture, the study aims to elucidate how religious commitment mediates diverse dimensions of employee commitment to work. Thus, the study will contribute immensely to the management of Generation Y employees and improve their work commitment in the UAE and across the world.

Research Context

The UAE Background

The UAE is a developed country situated in the Arabian Peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf in the north-western region and the Gulf of Oman Gulf in the south-eastern region. It emanated from the Trucial States that the British established in the early 19th century as sheikhdoms for their colonies. In 1971, the UAE gained its independence and became a federation consisting of seven emirates, namely, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah (Sutton 2014). The discovery of oil in the early part of the 19th Century and continual exploitation significantly boosted the economic growth and development of the UAE as an oil economy as well as improved the quality of life among the Emiratis. The oil economy attracted expatriates from different countries, mostly from the United States and Europe, who contributed considerably to the economic growth and development of the UAE making it a developed country in the modern global economy (Sutton 2014). Currently, the economy of the UAE ranks second after Saudi Arabia in the GCC region with a gross domestic product of over $400 billion dollars. Comparative economic growth indicates that the UAE has grown by roughly 231 times since its independence in 1971 (Sutton 2014). The exponential growth of the UAE economy is due to oil exportation, a diversified economy, and a favorable political environment that promotes the establishment of businesses.

Demographic analysis shows that the UAE has an extremely diverse population. The current population of the UAE is about 9.2 million with expatriates comprising 85% (7.8 million) and the Emiratis constituting the remaining 15% (1.4 million). In the early 21st Century, the population of the UAE was barely 3 million, but it has tripled in the last 16 years to about 9.2 million. The population of the UAE is very diverse for 19% are Emiratis, 50% are South Asians, 23% are Arabs, and the remaining 8% are East Asians and Westerners (United Arab Emirates National Bureau of Statistics 2016). Across the GCC region, Indians and Pakistanis are the dominant expatriates for they comprise 37% of the population in three emirates, namely, Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, and Filipino represent 25%, 12%, 9%, 7%, and 5% of the expatriates in major Emirates (United Arab Emirates National Bureau of Statistics 2016). Owing to improved economy and lifestyles, the UAE has a life expectancy of about 75 years, which is higher than the global average of 71 years. The dominant religion in the UAE is Islam (76%) followed by Christianity (12.6%), Hinduism (6.6%), and Buddhism (2%). Therefore, religion has an overwhelming impact on the principles, values, and norms of Emiratis.

GCC Countries

The UAE is one of the countries in the GCC, which is a political and economic block of the Arab states in the Middle East. The GCC countries comprise the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The GCC countries are similar politically as they are monarchical states that came into existence in 1981 following the signing of the Charter in Riyadh (Ganguli 2016). The aim of establishing the GCC was to promote cooperation among member states and their citizens in politics and economics. To administer their operations, the GCC countries created a secretariat charged with the responsibility of formulating and implementing policies on behalf of the member states. Ganguli (2016) reports that the GCC countries are in progress to becoming an economic block because they established the customs union in 2003, formed the common market in 2007, and initiated progress towards a single regional currency in 2009. The GCC has achieved the objective of a common market for organizations to be able to move their goods and services easily without undue restrictions. In 2014, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain made progressive steps towards the achievement of a single currency in the GCC (Ganguli 2016). In this view, GCC countries have a similar economic environment for they have the same customs union, share the common market, and are about to operate using a single currency.

With a population of about 47 million and diversity, the GCC countries have a very rich culture. Owing to the common market, the GCC citizens can move freely among member states with their passports as identification documents without the necessity to acquire visas from different states (Ganguli 2016). As the dominant religion is Islam, the culture of the GCC citizens emanates from Islamic teachings for its shapes their way of life and business ethics. The existence of freedom of worship allows other religions to establish their churches and temples. Islamic culture is evident in legal and political arenas the criminal justice system has incorporated Sharia into their laws while political systems follow Islamic monarchical rules where governments and parliaments are not subject to democratic elections except in Yemen. The Islamic teachings also dictate the dress code for women and men except for expatriates who have the freedom to dress differently. As the power lies in the monarchical systems, the GCC citizens prefer hierarchical order in their society. Over 95% of companies in the GCC are family businesses for connections play a key role in the operations and success of businesses. Individuals and families have moral and divine duty to help the poor by donating to charity organizations. Thus, the culture of the GCC countries emanates from the Islamic religion and plays a significant role in the lives, business, politics, and economics of the GCC citizens.

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Despite its advancements in economic growth and development, culture, politics, and social institutions, the GCC countries experience local challenges. The existence of monarchical governments in different states implies that the GCC countries have limited space for democracy (Bank, Richter & Sunik 2014). In this view, GCC citizens do not have equal rights in governance for the noble families dominate both political and economic arenas. Women belong to the marginalized groups in some of the GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Oman, for they are religious traditions and norms restricting them from working and participating in politics as their men counterparts (Sjoberg 2015). The overreliance on oil production as the main economic activity makes the economies of the GCC countries unstable for they are subject to global oil prices and economic recessions. Moreover, Aissaoui (2013) adds that the production of oil is leveling off because it is an unsustainable and non-renewable form of energy. Currently, the GCC countries have formulated regulations and policies aimed at promoting economic diversification to reduce overreliance on oil production. Almutairi (2016) recommends diversification into renewable sources of energy, and other industries that would strengthen the economic stability of the GCC countries. The labor sector has experienced saturation because both the expatriates and the Emiratis compete for limited job opportunities (Alhemoud 2013; Marzovilla 2014). Therefore, the GCC countries promote employment of the Emiratis through the Emiratization policy, which requires the public and private organizations to use a quota system in employing the Emiratis.

Oil and Gas Wealth

The economy of the GCC countries is dependent on oil and gas production. According to Alhemoud (2013), the GCC countries are major producers of oil and gas because the production accounts for 40% of the global production owing to huge deposits of recoverable fossil fuel. The gross domestic product accrued from oil and gas is about 50% in most states but reduced to 24% and 32% in Bahrain and the UAE due to increased diversification. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the leading producers of oil and gas in the GCC region. Across the world, GCC countries have the highest consumption rate for they consume about 32% of their production (Sakhrieh 2016). Wealth accrued from oil and gas industries has transformed the GCC region from a developing region to a developed region in the Middle East, which attracts a lot of labor across the world.

Industry Structure

The industry of the GCC countries comprises the private sector, the public sector, and the semi-governmental sector for they play a significant contribution to economic growth and development. The private industry is an industry that individuals own and undertake their business activities without the support of the government. In comparison, the public industry entails organizations and institutions funded by governments to provide services to the GCC citizens. The semi-governmental sector has industries and organizations that the private and the government co-own and manage collectively. According to Elborno (2016), the public sector and the semi-governmental sector employ more than 90% of the GCC citizens. The percentage shows that the private sector employs a minority proportion of employees. However, due to the declining gross domestic product from the oil and gas industry, the government is encouraging private sector participation in economic growth and development for it has the potential to boost the shrinking labor market. According to Gulf Labor Markets and Migration (2017), the percentages of the Emiratis in the public sector and semi-governmental sector are about 60% while the percentage of the Emiratis in the private sector is less than 10%. These statistics show that expatriates dominate the private sector while the Emiratis dominate the public sector and the semi-governmental sector. Before the promulgation of the Emiratization policy, the proportion of Emiratis in the public sector was less than 40%.

The UAE labor Market

The labor market of the UAE has a similar structure to that of the GCC region for expatriates dominate the private sector while the Emiratis dominate the public sector. Lim (2012) highlights that the labor market of the UAE is dependent on expatriates for they are the majority comprising 85% of the total workforce, leaving the remaining 15% to represent the Emiratis. Out of the UAE population of about 9.2 million, expatriates are nearly 7.8 million while the Emiratis are approximately 1.4 million. The small population of the Emiratis implies that they lack adequate labor to revolutionize the UAE. The booming economic growth in the late part of the 20th Century attracted immigrants to the UAE who exploited job opportunities and contributed to the economic growth and development, resulting in their dominance in the private and the public sectors of the economy.

Movement to Emiratization

The low proportion of Emiratis in the labor market compelled the UAE government to formulate the policy of Emiratization. In the public sector, the policy of Emiratization has significantly increased the proportion of Emirati employees from less than 2% to the current proportion of 13% (Gulf Labor Markets and Migration 2017). However, Emiratization has not made a significant impact on the private sector because less than 1% of the employees are Emiratis. Thus, given the saturated labor market and a shrinking economy, Emiratization offers a feasible solution to increasing unemployment rates among Emiratis. Although Emiratization is a noble idea, its implementation has some challenges. In the public sector, Emiratization has made a considerable impact, but the challenge is that few Emiratis do have the required skills to replace a large number of expatriates. In the private sector, skills, as well as terms and conditions are not favorable to the Emiratis. Forstenlechner et al. (2012) explain that lack of motivation, ambiguities in rights, and low wages are some of the major factors that hinder the implementation of Emiratization in the private sector. Hence, to improve the hiring and retention of Emirati employees, the UAE government ought to come up with enabling legislation to encourage private sector hiring and equip the Emiratis with appropriate skills to be competitive in the public sector.

The workforce in the UAE

The analysis of the workforce in the UAE shows the existence of a higher proportion of expatriates (87%) than the proportion of Emiratis. The low proportion of Emiratis has compelled the UAE government to promote the employment of the locals through the Emiratization policy. In the private sector, the percentage of expatriates is 96% while the percentage of Emiratis is 4% (Rasheed 2016). Comparatively, the proportion of expatriates in the public sector is 85% while the proportion of Emiratis is 15%. A gendered comparison of the proportion of the UAE workforce shows that women represent 17% while men represent 83%. Emiratization has increased the percentage of women from the previous percentage of 6% in 2006 to the current percentage of 17% (Randeree 2012). According to Lim (2013), Generation Y employees are the majority for they constitute about half of the workforce in the UAE. Thus, the study will examine Generation Y employees in the public sector for they are not only dominant in the UAE but also in the public sector.

Literature Review

Generation Y Individuals in the Gcc Countries

In the Arab World, Generation Y comprises individuals with different age brackets when compared to the conventional definition. Whereas the definition that Generation Y constitute individuals born between 1980 and 1999 is conventional, the Arab World regards individuals born between 1982 and 2002 as Arab Digital Generation (Shediac et al. 2013). The differences in the definition emanate from the experiences that Generation Y individuals encounter in modern society. Born in the era where GCC countries united for social, economic, and political progress, Generation Y experienced modernization and globalization. Peters (2012) describes Generation Y as a pampered generation for they grew up in a period when economic boom occurred and technological advancement coupled with globalization have enabled them to adopt the international culture. In this perspective, globalization and technological forces have shaped the emergence of Generation Y employees in the GCC countries. Nevertheless, Shediac et al. (2013) note that governments and organizations in the GCC countries have not realized the need to incorporate and consider generation differences in formulating their policies and regulations for equitable economic and social development. For instance, the Emiratization policy provides a consistent strategy of curbing disproportionate employment of the GCC citizens without considering different generational needs.

The proportions of Generation Y employees in different GCC countries are relatively similar owing to the current trends in demographics across the world. The increasing proportion of Generation Y employees in the workforce across the GCC region and other Arabian countries signal massive changes in the demographics of the labor market. The exit of Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and the entrance the Generation Y (1980-1999) are the two main factors that explain the increasing proportion of Generation Y in the labor market across the GCC countries (Alkindi, Teoh & Naji 2017). Moreover, the Emiratization policy has also contributed to the dominance of Generation Y employees in the labor market in the GCC region. Lim, Tayeb, and Othman (2012) tabulate that Generation Y forms 50% of the population in Saudi Arabia followed by Generation X at 20% and Generation Z at 18%. The challenge in the labor market of Saudi Arabia is that the proportion of Saudi Arabians is about 79% of the total population, but they comprise 20% of the workforce. In other states such as Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE experience similar disproportionate distribution of Generation Y in the population and the labor market due to the prevailing labor conditions that favor expatriates (Tong & Al-Awad 2014). Thus, the analysis of the non-work-related factors that influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees would shed additional light on the existence of the current disproportionate distribution of employees.

Generational Comparisons in the GСС

Comparison of Generation Y locals in the GCC reveals consistent patterns and trends of marked differences from one generation to another. A study conducted in GCC countries revealed that Generation Y employees have unique attributes because they speak their minds, share information, make instant decisions, and are always interactive with people (Schofield & Honore 2015). When compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers, Generation Y individuals tend to be more open for they speak their minds in the workplace. Gerenpayeh (2015) argues that interviews performed among Generation Y Emiratis demonstrate that they speak their minds because they do not have any reservations about issues they talk about. Since Generation Y individuals appreciate the use of technology, they acquire information and share it with their friends and colleagues in the workplace. The shared information has a considerable impact on the lives of employees because it empowers them and enables them to boost their expertise (Lim 2015). In organizations, decision-making follows a bureaucratic process, which takes longer to make and implement decisions. As previous generations find it normal for delays in decision-making to occur, Generation Y contrast them as they prefer instant decisions. The interactive attribute of Generation Y employees enables them to learn from their older and experienced generations as well as communicate effectively with customers. Thus, generational differences between Generation Y and previous generations bring to fore the unique attributes of Generation Y employees.

Characteristics of Generation Y in GСС

The entry of Generation Y employees into the labor market coupled with their increasing dominance has significant importance to GCC countries given the demographic youth bulge and Emiratization trend. Born between 1980 and 1999, Generation Y employees have experienced the growth and development of the GCC countries, which was formed in 1981 following the need to have a common market, customs union, and single currency. Schofield and Honore (2015) state that GCC countries were formed on the principles of a common religion, a single culture, shared language, the same socioeconomic conditions, and a free labor market. These principles have significantly shaped Generation Y employees. Rapid changes in cultural norms, communication methods, use of technology, and human resource management have transformed the labor market in the GCC region and influenced Generation Y employees. Since Generation Y employees are completing their entry into the labor market as a small proportion is barely 18 years, labor market analysis reveals that they learn in an advanced society, gain new skills, experience motivation by exceptional motivators, value learning and development, and deal with work relationships uniquely (Schofield & Honore 2015; Luscombe et al. 2013). In essence, these attributes of Generation Y employees based on their experiences presents a challenge to managers for it implies that their commitment to work is different.

In the UAE, Generation Y espouses characteristics that are unique and differentiate them from characteristics of individuals in other GCC countries and across the world (Schofield & Honore 2015; Lim 2013; Lim 2012). Lim (2013) expounds that Generation Y individuals are highly-skilled individuals since they grew up in the era of information technology where they have unlimited access to information and experience modernization and globalization in various aspects of life. For example, in their schools and workplaces, Generation Y employees virtually employ technology in performing numerous tasks and activities (Khera & Malik 2016). However, the private sector holds onto the stereotype that Generation Y Emirati employees are unskilled and unqualified to perform tasks that require advanced skills and knowledge (Tong & Al-Awad 2014). In their study to determine factors that influence the recruitment of employees in the UAE, Forstenlechner et al. (2012) found out that Generation Y are have digital skills, espouse strong national identity, love their career, commit to education, and cherish financial stability. The analysis of these attributes shows that Generation Y employees keep abreast with technology, education, and globalization forces that modernize society. An extensive study by Scholfield and Honore (2015) revealed similar attributes because it demonstrated that individuals, family, and society drive Generation Y to succeed in their careers as determined by high salary, knowledge, expertise, and work-life balance. Thus, the characteristics of Generation Y employees show that their interests revolve around career development, acquisition of knowledge, and keeping abreast with technological and globalization forces.

Generation Y Career Growth and Development In GCC

Modernization and globalization are drivers of Generation Y employees in the workplace because they strive for higher academic qualifications and skills. Previous studies have noted that peer orientation, career development, and a strong work-life balance are key attributes that differentiate Generation Y employees from the rest. An extensive analysis of Generation Y employees in the GCC countries reveals further attributes, which explain the drivers of success, development, and social interactions. According to Schofield and Honore (2015), the pressure to succeed is one of the drivers that make Generation Y grow and develop their careers. Since the prevailing social, economic, and cultural conditions value success, Generation Y employees strive to be successful and keep abreast with the modernization trends. GCC countries offer a competitive environment for expatriates and citizens to compete for limited opportunities based on their skills and knowledge. A study performed in the GCC countries showed that the pressure to succeed is strong among Generation Y employees because 76% of them agree that they want to succeed in their careers. The pressure to succeed varies according to state and gender in the GCC region. An elaborate study by Schofield and Honore (2015) exposed that the pressure to succeed is strong in the UAE (80%), Qatar (80%), Kuwait (76%), Oman (76%), Saudi Arabia (76%), and Bahrain (66%), while the pressure to succeed among male and female employees is 79% and 70% respectively. These figures suggest that the strong urge to succeed among Generation Y employees is a motivating force that determines their performance.

The pressure to succeed among Generation Y employees stems from extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. Non-work-related factors such as the status of personal drive, family, parents, religion, society, friends, politics, and government, and work-related factors such as manager and organization are some factors that define pressure to succeed among Generation Y employees. In their study across the GCC region, Schofield and Honore (2015) found out that personal drive is the leading cause for pressure to succeed at 59% followed by religion (8%), society (5%), friends (3%), manager (2%), organization (2%), and politics (1%). These findings reveal that non-work-related factors significantly influence the drive among Generation Y employees to succeed in their careers. Although the personal drive is leading among all GCC countries, society and family have a strong impact in the UAE whereas religion has a strong impact in Saudi Arabia and Oman. Gender comparison shows that females have stronger personal drive than males. In this view, managers ought to understand that Generation Y employees derive the drive to succeed from themselves.

Perception of career success varies from one generation to another because it is a factor of salary, work-life balance, knowledge, expertise, reputation, job status, connections, independence, and opportunity. A survey performed across GCC countries revealed that high salary (54%), knowledge and expertise (46%), and good work-life balance (37%) are the leading factors that Generation Y employees consider important for career success (Schofield & Honore 2015). The perception of career success is consistent across the GCC countries for Generation Y employees in Bahrain and Qatar consider work-life balance as a key factor to career success while Generation Y employees in Saudi Arabia and the UAE consider knowledge and expertise an important factor to career success. While males prefer knowledge and expertise as a measure of career success, females prefer reputation, job status, and independence as a measure of career success. Given that family and society are major drivers of success, it implies that high salary, expertise, knowledge, and work-life balance are familial and societal attributes. According to Ismail and Lu (2014), Generation Y individuals in the GCC countries do value education, development, experience, knowledge, and respect. The existence of such themes shows that Generation Y employees in the GCC countries have specific preferences in their lives, which point to their unique interests in the labor market.

Generation Y Employee Percentage in the Uae Workforce

Generation Y comprises a significant proportion of the population across the world. Essentially, Generation Y comprises individuals who were born between 1980 and 1999 who have similar values, experiences, attitudes, and inspirations. Generation Y employees in the UAE comprise 45% of the population with unique attributes that make them stand out in their workplaces (Lim 2013). The entry of Generation Y employees into the labor market of the UAE has significant implications because they represent a considerable proportion and possess unique attributes and needs. Born in the era of information technology, Generation Y individuals understand the technology and have the best technological knowledge for they can easily access information on the Internet through smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers. With the experience gained from their industrious parents who are baby boomers, Generation Y individuals have understood the dynamics of labor and have created innovative ways of performing their tasks (Ozcelik 2015). For instance, Generation Y individuals are inquisitive, creative, prefer teamwork, value career growth, and desire empowering environments in their workplaces (Flanagan 2015). According to Guillot-Soulez and Soulez (2014), Generation employees prefer organizations that provide opportunities for training, career growth, and talent exploitation. The preferences of Generation Y employees put a lot of pressure on human resources managers to adjust their conventional management strategies and adopt progressive and responsive ones in line with the dynamic needs of employees. In this perspective, human resources managers have a challenge meeting the unique attributes of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

The analysis of the labor market of the UAE shows that Emiratization and retirement of Generation X have boosted the entry of Generation Y into the labor market. Demographics show that Emiratis and expatriates constitute 15% and 85% respectively of the workforce in the UAE (Lim 2012). Forstenlechner et al. (2012) assert that Emiratization has increased the proportion of Emiratis in the labor market, and thus, contributing to a significant increase in the proportion of Generation Y employees (Forstenlechner et al. 2012; Kitana & Vhebi 2015). Thus, Emiratization and the emergence of Generation Y employees have changed the attributes of employees in the labor market. Moreover, the retirement of Generation X employees in the past five years has led to their rapid decline from 35% in 2010 to 26% in 2015 (Lim 2012; Lim 2013). Although statistics show that Generation Y employees are increasingly becoming the dominant segment of the UAE labor market, studies regarding the impact of non-work-related factors on their performance is lacking (Lim 2012). Thus, a study to determine the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of these employees is essential to improve their performance.

Work Commitment as a Challenge in the UAE

The work commitment of employees is one of the attributes that determine the productivity of employees and the performance of organizations. Essentially, work commitment is the amount of passion that employees have towards their tasks, duties, and responsibilities in an organization (Nahm, Lauver & Keyes 2012). Human resources managers usually aim to promote the work commitment of employees to improve their productivity and overall performance of an organization. Changing dynamics of employees in the UAE has a significant impact on the work commitment of employees. Despite efforts of campaigning for Emiratization, public and private sectors continue to grapple with the diminishing job opportunities among the nationals due to low work commitment resulting in a massive decline of available jobs (Askary & Kukunuru 2014). With the emergence of Generation Y employees with unique needs, which require updated management strategies, the work commitment of employees is hard to achieve. Human resources managers experience low work commitment levels characterized by absenteeism, low interest, poor productivity, and lack of motivation. Askary and Kukunuru (2014) hold that the work commitment indicates the extent of creativity, innovativeness, profitability, satisfaction, and productivity of employees, and thus, reflecting their retention. In this view, work commitment is an important parameter that reflects the utility of Generation Y employees in the workplace.

As a critical parameter in human resources management, the work commitment enables the determination of not only the retention of employees but also their productivity and performance. As experts have come up with numerous models of assessing the work commitment among employees, which have evolved and become complex to enhance validity and reliability of assessment (Baba & Sliong 2012). In 1991, John Meyer and Natalie Allen came up with a three-component model comprising affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment (Bouckenooghe, Schwarz & Minbashian 2015). Affective commitment measures the extent to which an employee is emotionally attached to an organization and identifies with its vision, mission, and goals. Normative commitment measures the degree to which employees feel obliged and indebted to an organization for receiving certain benefits and privileges. The aspect of continuance commitment measures the propensity of employees to remain in their positions owing to unfavorable loss associated with leaving. To enhance the validity and reliability of the commitment model, a five-component model was developed with passive continuance, active continuance, and value as additional aspects of measurements (Wong & Tong 2014). Active continuance measures the propensity of an employee to remain in an organization because it offers opportunities for training and promotion while passive continuance is the tendency of an employee to stay in an organization owing to a lack of better opportunities in other organizations. Value measures how employees perceive their value to their organizations and are willing to exert considerable effort.

Non-work-Related Factors

Numerous factors do influence the work commitment of employees in their workplaces and organizations. The emergence of Generation Y employees with unique demographic attributes present challenges to human resources for they have complex needs related to non-work-related factors. According to Saha (2016), gender, age, academic qualification, marital status, and attitudes of employees are non-work-related factors that impact the work commitment of employees to their organization. In this view, female, mature, educated, and married employees are more committed to their organizations than male, young, uneducated, and single employees. Human resources managers employ these non-work-related attributes when recruiting employees that exhibit a commendable commitment to their work. Numerous studies have confirmed that gender, age, academic level, and marital status impact the commitment of employees (Beloor, Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2017; Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015; Lee & Chen 2013). As these factors have been extensively studied and confirmed that they have a marked influence on the work commitment of employees, the study seeks to examine additional non-work-related factors that influence Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Operationalization of Work-Related Factors

The theory that the study applies to the study of the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of employees in the UAE is the ecological systems theory. Urie Bronfenbrenner developed the ecological systems theory, which elucidates the nature of social systems that individuals operate and interact with resulting in behavioral changes (Bone 2015). The ecological systems theory holds that individuals live in a social environment comprising successive layers of social systems (Boon et al. 2012). At the inner circle, there is an individual under the direct impact of family, peers, and church at the microsystem layer. At the next layer, there is the mesosystem, which depicts the interaction of individuals and different social factors of the microsystem. Exosystem is the third layer of the social system comprising neighbors, politics, and social media. At the fourth layer, there is the macrosystem, which represents attitudes, norms, ideals, and values of a culture that shape individuals in the society (Musgrave & Woodward 2016). As the study seeks to examine the influence of family background, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment on the work commitment of Generation Y employees, the ecological systems theory is the appropriate theoretical framework. The theoretical framework below shows an adapted model illustrating religious commitment and family background as microsystem factors and economic status of the neighborhood as exosystem factors influencing the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

Demographic factors influencing Generation Y
Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1: Demographic factors influencing Generation Y

Demographic Factors

Demographic factors related to the family background have a considerable impact on the commitment of employees to their organizations. In the UAE where there is a significant increase in the proportion of employees in Generation Y, human resources are grappling to understand the complex needs of employees. Lim (2012) avers that demographic factors mediate the impact of extrinsic and intrinsic factors on the commitment of Generation Y employees. Since employees have family backgrounds, examination of the demographic attributes of their families depicts their experiences, values, and aspirations. Affum-Osei, Acquaah and Acheampong (2015) identify demographic attributes surrounding the background of employees as products of experiences, which shape their commitment to respective workplaces or organizations. The study holds that additional demographic factors, namely, academic qualification of parents, paternal job level, wealth status, and sibling order influence the commitment of employees (Kultalahti & Viitala 2014). In this view, consideration of the impact of demographic attributes on the commitment of Generation Y employees is critical.

An elaborate study performed in the GCC countries proved that indeed demographic factors influence Generation Y individuals. In this elaborate study, Schofield and Honore (2015) established that parents, family, and society influence the commitment of Generation Y individuals to their careers and organizations in the UAE. The review of the sources of the drive to success and commitment in the GCC countries gave similar trends regarding the influence of non-work-related factors such as personal drive, parents, family, society, friends, and business leaders. The analysis of the UAE labor market showed that personal drive has a leading influence on demographic factors at 37% followed by parents and family at 30% and society at 14% (Schofield & Honore 2015). To establish the effect of family on commitment among employees, Khan (2014) conducted a study among women and revealed that family conflict is a negative predictor of commitment to work and employee performance. However, since no study has examined the influence of demographic variables such as family and society on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE, this study aims to determine their effects.

Economic Status of Neighborhood

neighborhood economic status influences economic activities and the status of individuals in society. A study demonstrated that a significant relationship exists between unemployment rates and neighborhood economic status (Brattbakk & Wessel 2013). The socialization mechanism of learning through conditioning and imitation explains why the youth in the poor neighborhoods are unemployed due to a lower job commitment than the youth in the affluent neighborhoods (Manley 2013). In essence, exposure to poor neighborhoods creates negative attitudes among the youth, resulting in low job commitment and unemployment. In a study performed among 429 Dutch youth to establish the influence of neighborhood on the work commitment of employees, the findings demonstrated that exposure to poor neighborhoods between the ages of 16 and 21 years results in diminished job commitment at the age of 25 years (Nieuwenhuis et al. 2016). Such findings are novel for they reveal that neighborhoods influence the behaviors of individuals and determine their job commitment. The analysis of lifestyles demonstrates that modernization and globalization have greatly influenced social structures and the emergence of Generation Y in the UAE (Maitner & Stewart-Ingersoll 2016). Religion, nationality, and culture are other factors that aid in the creation and sustenance of stable social structures, which stratify Emiratis in the UAE.

The assessment of the social structure in the UAE shows that there is stratification based on the economic status of individuals, families, and estates. Stratification in the UAE has its basis on economic classes that individuals belong as the rich dominate the high classes while the poor remain in the low classes as indicated by human activities and neighborhoods in which individuals live. Ahmed (2017) argues that social stratification is a problem of urban planning in the UAE for there are divisions between Emiratis and expatriates and the rich and the poor. Family wealth is a factor that determines the economic status of individuals and the neighborhoods that they live (Hanieh 2013). As Generation Y employees come from diverse families in different neighborhoods based on their social stratification, this study seeks to determine the influence of neighborhood economic status on the work commitment of Generation Y in the UAE. A study compared the behavior of household consumption and established that Emiratis consume more than expatriates in the UAE in the aspects of housing, food, and education (Katsaiti et al. 2017). These findings show that Emiratis either earn more than expatriates or spend a higher proportion of their income. According to Daleure (2016), Emiratis earn more income than expatriates despite having low professional qualifications due to the Emiratization policy. In this perspective, consumption behavior, citizenship, and skills determine the income of employees and consequently their neighborhood economic index.

Religious Commitment

Religion is a personal matter that influences the commitment of employees because it determines the values, principles, morals, and norms that individuals espouse. Essentially, religious commitment measures the extent to which individuals comply with religious beliefs, values, and practices. Choerudin (2015) asserts that religious commitment comprises affective, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions that drive people to espouse certain values, principles, morals, and norms. The affective dimension of spirituality is the emotional status, which shows feelings towards certain aspects of their work. The cognitive dimension refers to the knowledge and understanding of religious tenets that form the basis of spirituality in an individual while the behavioral dimension represents how individuals espouse their religious beliefs in the workplace. In a study, religious belief, commitment, and behavior explain 8.2%, 16.7%, and 20.2% of the variation in organizational commitment (Choerudin 2015). The extent of the effect shows that religion has a considerable influence on the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

In the UAE, the existence of the dominant Islamic religion reinforces the influence of religious commitment among the Emiratis. Salahudin et al. (2016) argue that Islamic teachings permeate workplaces and organizations for they define and work ethics by influencing the normative, the affective, and the continuance dimensions of work commitment. Consequently, employee behaviors reflect Islamic values, beliefs, and principles that employees espouse in the UAE. In a similar study, the findings demonstrated that spirituality promotes the work commitment of employees to their work and organization for it enhances responsibility, loyalty, and involvement (Marri et al. 2013). Muslims are dominant in the UAE and the Islamic religion has a mega influence on their way of life, the study hypothesizes that religious commitment to Islam has an immense impact on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Three-Component Model of Commitment

Commitment is an important psychological attribute among employees for it predicts employee variables such as job performance, turnover rate, innovativeness, and collaboration. The three-component model (TCM) is an elaborate theory that elucidates employee commitment to work based on three psychological components, namely, affective commitment (AC), normative commitment (NC), and continuance commitment (CC) (Bouckenooghe, Schwarz & Minbashian 2015). AC is the component that measures emotional attachment and the desire to commit to an organization. Demographic attributes such as age, gender, education, and family background are established factors that influence AC among individuals. According to Lim (2013), intrinsic motivators such as independence, freedom, supportive social networks, and opportunities for career growth boost the commitment of Generation Y employees to their workplace. In this view, it implies that managers should motivate Generation Y employees by focusing on intrinsic motivators for they have a marked influence on AC. As the component assesses a moral obligation or a sense of obligation, NC drives employees to remain in an organization because of loyalty gained through training, incentives, and rewards among other motivators. Given that Generation Y employees value career growth and development, Naim and Lenka (2017) established that mentoring and training improve their intention to stay in their respective organizations. CC is the component that determines the extent of gains and losses that employees could make should they decide to leave an organization. A study performed in the UAE showed that organizational justice, human relations, and job performance have a positive relationship with CC (Suliman & Al-Kathairi 2012; Sawada 2013). These findings show that employers can improve the performance of their employees by ensuring that there is organizational justice.

As a theoretical framework, ample evidence shows that employee commitment to work varies from one person to another depending on generational attributes. Across the world, numerous studies have demonstrated that employee commitment to work has a statistically significant relationship with employee involvement, job performance, innovativeness, and career development (Schofield & Honore 2015; Yigit & Aksay 2015; Mohsen 2015; Mathew 2016). Essentially, employee commitment to work is a management parameter that defines relationships between organizations and their employees. Demographic changes over time have led to generational differences among employees in various countries and labor markets. The first empirical study in the Arab World applied TCM in studying generational trends and found out that AC and NC are significant components of employee commitment to work among Generation Y while CC is a significant component among Generation X (Mohsen 2016). Based on these findings, it is apparent that TCM is an appropriate model that elucidates the commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. In a recent survey among Emiratis, Maceda (2017) reports that 85% of employees are not engaged in their workplaces because of rapidly changing work conditions and competition in the labor market. The figure implies that organizations in the UAE do not optimize the performance of their employees, resulting in unnecessary losses. Mohsen (2016) argues that the extent of engagement among employees is a pointer to the management strategies, cultural values, and demographic attributes. Thus, in line with TCM, the management ought to improve the commitment of the Emirati employees by motivating them and empowering them to engage effectively in their workplaces.

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework (Figure 2) depicts that family background, religious commitment, and neighborhood economic status are predictors of commitment of Generation Y employees. The depiction of the conceptual framework has its basis on the hypotheses of the study. In line with the first objective, the study hypothesizes that the family background of a father, such as father’s academic level, job status, wealth status, and employee birth order in the family, are statistically significant predictors of commitment among Generation Y employees in the UAE because they influence affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment as proved in the theoretical framework. The second hypothesis of the study is that religious commitment influences affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment, resulting in the overall commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. Regarding the third objective, the study hypothesizes that the economic status of the neighborhood influences affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment, which in turn determines the commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE.

Conceptual Framework
Figure 2: Conceptual Framework

Methodology

Research Design

The study will use a survey research design in the collection and analysis of the findings. In the collection of data, the study will use surveys with established scales that quantify family background, religious commitment, neighborhood economic status, and commitment of employees. In data analysis, the study will use descriptive statistics and inferential statistics in the presentation and interpretation of findings. The study seeks to use the quantitative approach in ascertaining the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. According to Maxwell (2012), the quantitative approach is robust for it allows quantification of data and performance of inferential statistics. Creswell (2013) argues that the quantitative approach, as research design, offers a way of collecting accurate data that is not only valid but also reliable in making inferences. Given that the study aims to establish the influence of non-work-related factors, namely, family background, spiritual analysis, and neighborhood economic status, on the work commitment of Generation Y employees. In ascertaining the strength and direction of relationships between dependent and independent variables, the qualitative approach is appropriate (Leavy 2017). Therefore, the study will use a survey research design and the quantitative approach in ascertaining the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees.

Target Population and Sampling

The study targets Generation Y employees in the public sector of the UAE. In selecting the sample, the study will target Emirati employees aged between 18 and 37 years for they belong to the Generation Y employees. Since 85% of Emiratis are disengaged (Maceda 2017), 15% are in the public sectors (Rasheed 2016), Generation Y employees is the largest in the workforce, and the dominant religion is Islam, Generation Y employees in the public sector of the UAE form appropriate target population. In this view, the inclusion criterion is that employees’ targets should belong to Generation Y. The study will employ the convenience method of sampling in selecting participants of the study. As a non-probability method of sampling, the conventional method of sampling is easy to undertake, requires a short time, is cheap to carry out, and enhances the representation of the population (Creswell 2013). Given that Generation Y employees form 15% of the workforce in the public sector, the study will use a convenience method of sampling to obtain an adequate sample that represents their population in various organizations.

Sample Size Determination

The study will determine the sample size of the study using the formula for the infinite target population. In essence, the study will use Cochran’s formula [n = (Z/E)2 pq] in ascertaining sample size (Bernard 2012; Bryman & Bell 2015).In this formula, n is a sample size that is a function of critical value for the confidence interval (Z), margin error (E), the anticipated proportion of responses (p), and the anticipated proportion of none responses. In this case, the study will take a critical value for 95% confidence interval (Z = 1.96), margin of error (E = 0.05), the anticipated proportion of responses (p = 0.5) and anticipated none responses (q = 0.5), which gives a sample size of 385 participants (n = 384.16). To cater for non-responses, the study will sample 400 participants, which is adequate to represent the population of Generation Y employees randomly distributed in the public sector in the UAE. In selecting participants, the study will use a convenience method of sampling and then administer surveys to them.

Research Instrument

The study will design a questionnaire and use it in collecting data from Generation Y employees in the UAE. The questionnaire has established scales of family demographic factors, neighborhood economic status, religious commitment, and commitment of employees, which have been adapted to the study of the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees. In the measurement of the demographic factors of the family, the study will examine paternal academic qualification and job level, wealth status of a family, and birth order. The study derived these variables from numerous studies, which have established that demographic factors have a significant influence on the work commitment of employees (Affum-Osei, Acquaah & Acheampong 2015; Lim 2012; Askary & Kukunuru 2014). In measuring the neighborhood economic status, the study will adopt six variables from the neighborhood Economic Index (NEI) (Mode, Evans & Zonderman 2016). The six variables of NEI measures the proportions of households with unemployed, households having people of out employment, households receiving food relief, households earning less than $30,000 yearly, and, households without a car. According to Mode, Evans, and Zonderman (2016), NEI has a very high internal reliability because its Cronbach’s alpha is 0.95. Hence, the reliability of NEI enhances the accurate measurement of the neighborhood economic status of Generation Y employees.

In the assessment of religious commitment of Generation Y employees, the study will use an established scale called Religious Commitment Inventory (RCI). RCI is a reliable scale that measures the commitment of individuals to their religion based on how they apply beliefs, values, and practices in their daily lives. Hodge (2015) asserts that RIC is reliable because it is applicable to all religions, including Islam in this case. This scale has 10 Likert statements that measure adherence to beliefs, values, and practices of religion among individuals (Miller, Shepperd & McCullough 2013; Alaedein-Zawawi 2015). The rating of each statement is on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5 where 1 indicates not at all true to totally true (Ajibade et al. 2015). In this view, the study will use RCI in assessing the work commitment of Generation Y employees to their religious beliefs, values, and practices. In the measuring of commitment of employees, the study employed a five-component model comprising affective commitment, passive continuance, active continuance, normative commitment, and value commitment (Wong & Tong 2014). The model has 18 Likert statements measured on a seven-point Likert scale. The model is appropriate for measuring employee commitment to work because it assesses numerous variables. To establish the reliability and validity of scales, the study will undertake a pre-study among 10 Emirati employees in the public sector who belong to Generation Y employees.

Data Collection

The study will collect data from Emirati employees who belong to Generation Y and work in the public sector in the UAE. The study will seek permission from the governmental organizations in which it targets its employees and inform them about the essence of research to avoid undue conflicts. After sampling and recruitment of participants, the study will seek informed consent and administer a developed questionnaire (Appendix A). To enhance the collection, storage, and retrieval of data, the study will use a structured questionnaire. The data collection process will be complete once the number of complete surveys attains 400, which is the calculated sample size of the study. Researchers will collate the questionnaire, enter the data into the Statistical Program of Social Sciences (SPSS), clean data, and perform data analysis.

Data Analysis

The study will perform both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics in determining the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. To aid in data analysis, the study will use SPSS. Correlation and regression analyses enable the determination of strength and direction of relationships between variables of interest (Field 2013). Important variables in the study are family demographics, neighborhood economic status, religious commitment, and employee commitment to work. Correlation analysis is essential in ascertaining the magnitude of relationships between variables. In inferential statistics, the study will use regression analysis to determine if family demographics, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment are statistically significant predictors of employee commitment to work of Generation Y.

Theoretical Contribution

This study will make a significant theoretical contribution since it will indicate how social systems influence the work commitment of Generation Y employees in the UAE. In this view, the findings of the study will elucidate the mechanism of the ecological systems theory. In essence, the study will elucidate how religious commitment, neighborhood economic status, and demographic attributes of a family are social factors in the ecological systems theory that determine the commitment of Generation Y employees. Moreover, the findings will contribute to theoretical development in human resources management for it will indicate that non-work-related factors also play a significant role in the work commitment of Generation Y employees. As the study will provide empirical findings, it will contribute to the body of knowledge for students, researchers, and human resources managers to apply in their respective fields of interest. Given that the UAE is grappling with the challenge of unemployment, the findings will strengthen Emiratization. Overall, the study will come up with a model that elucidates the influence of non-work-related factors on the work commitment of Generation Y in developed and emerging economies such as the UAE and other GCC countries.

Practical Implications

The study will have significant implications for the realm of human resource management because the study seeks to venture into a novel field and reveal subtle factors that influence the commitment of Generation Y employees. Essentially, religious commitment, demographic attributes of family, and neighborhood economic status are factors that studies of human resource management have neglected, and thus, little or no information is available regarding their influence on Generation Y employees. If the study confirms the hypotheses that family demographics, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment are statistically significant predictors of the work commitment of employees, the practical implication of the findings is that human resources managers need to consider them in the recruitment of employees. In essence, by assessing family demographics, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment, human resources managers can predict the work commitment of Generation Y employees. However, if the study finds out that family demographics, neighborhood economic status, and religious commitment are not statistically significant predictors of the work commitment of Generation employees, the implication is that the findings form the basis for further studies in other populations to establish the role of these factors in human resource management.

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Appendix A

Questionnaire

Please answer the following questions by indicating (√) what describes your appropriately as an employee.

Demographic Data

  1. What is your gender?
    • Male
    • Female
  2. What is your age?
    • 18-24
    • 25-30
    • 31-37
  3. How many years have you worked in your present organization?
    • Less than 2 years
    • 2-5 years
    • 6-10 years
    • More than 10 years
  4. What is the name of your neighborhood?

Demographic Factors

  • What is the level of qualification of your father?
Academic Qualification Certificate (1) Diploma (2) Degree
(3)
Masters (4) Doctorate (5)
Indicate (√)
  • How can you rate the job level of your father?
Job Level Technician (1) Assistant (2) Supervisor (3) Manager (4) Director (5)
Indicate (√)
  • How can you rate wealth status of your father?
Wealth Status < $200,000 (1) $201,000-$500,000(2) $501,000 – $1000,000 (3) $1001,000 – $1,500,000(4) > 1,500,000 (5)
Indicate (√)
  • What is your birth order in the family?
Birth Order 1 2 3 4 5
Indicate (√)

Neighborhood Economic Index (Nei)

Percent Rating 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
What is the perceived percent of households with unemployed individuals in your neighborhood?
What is the perceived percent of households with individuals who are out the employment in your neighborhood?
What is the perceived percent of households earning less than $30,000 yearly in your neighborhood?
What is the perceived percent of households without a car in your neighborhood?
What is the perceived percent of households in poverty in your neighborhood?
Total

Religious Commitment Scale (RIC)

On a scale of 1 to 5, kindly rate the following statements related to your religious commitment

Likert Scale
Statements 1 2 3 4 5
1 I often read books, articles, and teachings of my faith
2 I usually contribute money to my religious organization
3 I spend a lot of time in learning, growing, and developing in my faith
4 Religion is very essential in my life because it gives me the true meaning of life
5 I apply religious beliefs, values, and practices in my life
6 I enjoy socialising with people whom we share the same religious persuasion
7 Religious beliefs and values influence my way of life
8 I dedicate my time in religious reflection and meditation of my life
9 I enjoy performing activities of my religious persuasion and organization
10 I keep abreast with my religious group and I have significant influence in decision-making.
Total

Commitment of Employees

On a scale of 1 to 7, please rate the following statements assessing your commitment as an employee.

Likert Scale
Statements 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 I am very happy I selected this organization/company to work
2 I recommend my friends to work on this company for I consider it a great one
3 I am proud to inform other people that I work in this company
4 I work for this organization/company as it offers opportunities for training
5 I work for this organization/company because offers chance for me to achieve my goals
6 I work in this organization/company as it offers opportunities to apply my knowledge well
7 I work for this organization/company because it offers a stimulating work environment
8 I work for this organization/company for it offers a lot of career opportunities
9 I will work for this organization/company for I consider it the best
10 I will continue working for this organization/company to support my family
Total