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UAE Business Graduates’ Employability Skills Research Paper


The contemporary business environment worldwide can be characterized as very dynamic, often chaotic, and changeable, which calls for the employers’ adaptability and readiness to embrace change for the purpose of keeping their organizations at the top of the competition. In order to fit in the rapidly developing settings of the modern workplaces, new business employees and graduates require a set of employability skills that include such features as problem-solving, planning and organizing, self-management, initiative and enterprise, lifelong learning, communication, technology, and teamwork (Precision Consultancy, 2007). The latter skill is the primary focus of this research paper. Teamwork is recognized as one of the key components of successful performance in many different organizations, an essential part of the daily duties of business employees, and thus, a valuable skill for a worker (Hanaysha & Tahir, 2016).

However, there is a need for research on how an important employability skill such as teamwork skills is perceived by the business graduates who are now employed and by their organizations. The purpose of this study is to provide new insights into the use of teamwork skills by the currently employed business graduates in the UAE. The research will involve the assessment of the employees’ experience with the application of teamwork in their professional lives and their perceptions of the skill in regard to its value as a professional ability. The study will seek to answer the following research questions:

  1. How do the currently employed business graduates evaluate teamwork skills as necessary for their jobs?
  2. Do teamwork skills serve as a critical determinant of professionalism when the business graduates are recruited as workers?

The hypothesis for this study is that the UAE workplaces that hire business graduates value teamwork skills and treat them as one of the essential characteristics for good employees and that the most business employees today tend to use teamwork skills quite often in their daily professional lives and consider them as necessary for the high-quality performance. This study and its findings are significant for the educators and students in the UAE who are involved in studying or teaching business studies. This research will provide a practical indicator of the current perceptions and attitudes towards teamwork skills among the business graduates who are presently employed.

Literature Review

Hanaysha, J., & Tahir, P. (2016). Examining the effects of employee empowerment. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219, 272-282.

  1. The main objective of the study was to assess and evaluate the effects of different impacts (teamwork, training, and employee empowerment) on the workers’ job satisfaction.
  2. The findings of this study indicated that all three factors (teamwork, training, and employee empowerment) tend to produce a significant positive effect on the job satisfaction of the workers.
  3. This research article is relevant to the overall topic of the present research because it aims at the assessment of the meaning of teamwork as a skill facilitating workplace affiliations and as an activity highly appreciated and valued by the employees.

Ifeyinwa, S. (2014). The effects of teamwork on employees’ performance: A study of selected firms in Anambra state Nigeria. British Journal of Advanced Academic Research, 3(1), 104-118.

  1. This study explored the effects produced by teamwork on the overall performance of the employees.
  2. The findings of this study indicated that there exists a strong positive correlation between the employees’ performance and teamwork encouraged along with rewards and recognition.
  3. This study is relevant to the present research due to its focus on the exploration of the use and value of teamwork. The findings of this study make it possible to compare the described attitudes to teamwork with the ones that will be identified over the course of the present study.

Iqbal, A., & Zenchenkov, M. (2014). Market tested business education: Corporate sector perceptions of Saudi graduates competencies. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 15(2), 91-106.

  1. The purpose of this study was to compare the perceptions of the skills required by the contemporary graduates willing to find entry-level employment in a developing country (Saudi Arabia) with those present in the developed countries and establish whether or not the attitudes differ.
  2. The findings of the study showed that in the researched developing country, there exists the need for better development of service-learning and soft skills as parts of the curricula for the future entry-level employees.
  3. This study is relevant to the present research because it covers teamwork skills alongside the other widely known competencies and employability traits and evaluates the way the latter are perceived in the developing countries as a part of curriculums for the future employees.

Manzoor, Ullah, Hussain, Ahmad. (2011). Effect of teamwork on employee performance. International Journal of Learning & Development, 1(1), 110-126.

  1. The primary purpose of the study was to assess and evaluate the effect of teamwork on the performance of employees.
  2. The results of the study showed a strong positive correlation that exists between teamwork and the performance of the employees; and as a result, the recommendation was to adopt teamwork activities as the factors helping to boost the workers’ productivity.
  3. The relevance of this study to the overall topic of the present research is based on the article’s aim to find how teamwork skills contributed to the overall workplace productivity and thus provide an evaluation of these skills as a necessary workplace activity. The study helps support the hypothesis of the present research.

Al-Jenaibi, B. (2011). The scope and impact of workplace diversity in the United Arab Emirates – An initial study. Journal for Communication and Culture, 1(2), 49-81.

  1. Taking into consideration the multinational nature of the UAE workforce, the author of this study explored the workplace experiences of native and non-native employees working in the UAE for the purpose of finding what differences there exist.
  2. The study found that both groups of the surveyed workers had positive attitudes towards diversity in their workplaces, but specified that their organizations lacked the appropriate policies and practices to provide a more productive integration.
  3. This study is relevant to the present research because it focuses on the specificity of the UAE workplaces and identifies the activities and skills specific to these settings.

According to the data of research conducted by DIAC and Aon Hewitt (n.d.), over the last years, UAE has grown to become a powerful educational hub in the region attractive to many education students from across the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, many of the students surveyed for the research states that their major preferences as to the future career fields are business-related professional areas. Also, most students believe that their academic qualifications and skills are the major determinants of their future success and performance levels as employees (DIAC & Aon Hewitt, n. d.).

Teamwork is recognized as one of the primary employability skills and a very important component of organizational culture and the employees’ behaviors (Hanaysha & Tahir, 2016). Moreover, according to the findings revealed in the studies by Ifeyinwa (2014) and Manzoor, Ullah, Hussain, and Ahmad (2011), teamwork is appreciated and valued not only by the employers but also by the workers as it was found to improve their job satisfaction level. The reliability of the latter findings is supported by the fact that the two studies were conducted in different countries and still showed similar results. Moreover, the aforementioned study by Hanaysha and Tahir also detected a positive correlation between job satisfaction and the presence of teamwork as a daily activity.

When it comes to the UAE workplace settings, the study by Al-Jenaibi (2011) found that a high rate of cultural diversity in the UAE workforce calls for increased teamwork skills that also require knowledge of cross-cultural communication. Also, it is known that the modern workplaces in the Arab world have a higher demand for the employees with skill sets relevant to the contemporary business realities in the Arab countries, thus creating pressure on the educational institutions (Iqbal & Zenchenkov, 2014).

Research Methodology

Research Design

This study is intended as qualitative research aiming at the distinguishing of the attitudes toward and the perceptions of teamwork as a skill in the UAE workplaces by the business graduates who are currently employed. The research will focus on the collection of information directly from the participants and assessing it using qualitative methods. In particular, the study will rely on the interviews with the working business graduates for the purpose of collection of data concerning their perspectives on teamwork and its role in the daily activities of the interviewers, as well as the perceived value of this employability skill in the company’s choice to hire workers. The data collected over the course of the interviews will be analyzed using the method of coding that helps to identify similar topics and statements in the responses of the participants for the purpose of generalizing the obtained information and synthesizing it to answer the research question of this study. The qualitative research design was chosen for this study because its major objective is to assess and evaluate the attitudes and perceptions of the respondents in regard to the application of teamwork employability skills to their professional activities, competencies, tasks, and duties.

Sampling Design

Convenience sampling will be selected for this study. To be more precise, the participants for the research will be found from the nearest business organizations. Several smaller and bigger firms of different types will be chosen as the potential sources of respondents. Further, it will be critical for the researchers to approach the managers or directors of the firms and obtain their consent for the research. The employees who choose to agree to participate in the interviews will not be bothered during their working hours. Instead, the interviews will be scheduled during the break hours or after work when they have some free time.

The respondents’ demographics will be recorded as a necessary part of the research indicating that the sample is diverse and that there was no sampling bias. Ideally, the sample will include 10 to 15 people, with an approximately equal male to female ratio, of different ages, and ethnic or national backgrounds.

The major inclusion criteria for the participants will involve having a business degree from any higher educational institution in the UAE and being currently employed.

Procedure for Data Collection

Depending on the participant’s preferences, the interviews will take place either during their break hours or their after-work leisure hours. The interviews will be conducted in relatively quiet places such as nearby cafes or parks, wherever there are comfortable sitting areas and not too much noise. The latter is the requirement because the voice records of the interviews will be made in addition to the written documentation of their answers.

The interviews are expected to take about 20 to 30 minutes and cover several major questions concerning the application of teamwork skills in the employees’ respective workplaces, their attitudes towards the value of these skills, and their perceived companies’ relation to teamwork skills as a necessary set of skills for the recruitment. Interviews were selected as a data collection procedure for this study and preferred to questionnaires because they would help assess the employees’ points of view on teamwork skills on a deeper and more meaningful level providing elaborate answers instead of fixed survey responses. It is expected that due to the extended nature of the responses given by the interviewees, the analysis of data will allow a more detailed interpretation of the acquired information.

Research Instrument

As specified in the previous sections, the research instrument of choice is the interview. To be more precise, the interviews will be guided by a set of specifically prepared questions that are presented in the Appendix.

The interview will contain eight questions to which the participants will be asked to provide extended answers that will be recorded with the help of a voice recorder. Also, while conducting the interviews, the researcher will document all the aspects deemed important in written form.

Data Analysis

The data collected over the course of the interviews will be analyzed with the help of coding. In particular, the responses will be transcribed for the purpose of further analysis of the text and processed for the subdivision into categories and groups helping to identify common speech patterns and answers. Further, the identified codes and patterns will be analyzed as indicators of certain opinions among the interviewed business workers. The conclusions will be made based on these interpretations.


The major limitation of the proposed study is its small sample size that will significantly restrict its transferability. However, the diversity of the sample will be used as a way to address this limitation. In addition, since the coding and text analysis phases will be carried out by one person, the limitation exists in the form of a potential bias during the data interpretation and synthesis. This limitation will be addressed with the help of a reviewer (or reviewers) – one or several people who will compare the written answers to the identified codes and patterns in order to confirm whether or not the interviewees’ responses were analyzed correctly.


Interview Questions

  1. How do you define teamwork skills?
  2. How often do you have to use teamwork skills in your daily work?
  3. Do you think that teamwork has a positive or negative effect on your performance?
  4. Are teamwork activities promoted or encouraged in your workplace? How?
  5. Did your company specify that teamwork skills are necessary for your potential recruitment when you applied for this job?
  6. Did you already have good teamwork skills as a business graduate before becoming an employee?
  7. Does your company provide special training or coaching for the development of teamwork skills in the workplace?
  8. Do you find teamwork activities pleasant or challenging in regard to the level of your performance and professional preparedness?


DIAC & Aon Hewitt. (n.d.). Understanding the workforce of the future in the UAE. Web.

Manzoor, Ullah, Hussain, Ahmad. (2011). Effect of teamwork on employee performance. International Journal of Learning & Development, 1(1), 110-126.

Precision Consultancy. (2007). Graduate employability skills.Web.

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