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Parental influence on female vocational decisions in the Arabian Gulf

Rutledge, Emilie and Madi, Mohamed and Forstenlechner, Ingo (2014): Parental influence on female vocational decisions in the Arabian Gulf.

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Due to the Arabian Gulf’s pyramid-style ‘national’ demographic profile and pronounced reliance on expatriate labor, policymakers are now actively seeking ways to increase national FLFP. In this context, we examine the impact of parental influence on the post-graduation vocational intentions of women in the United Arab Emirates. Perceived levels of parental support, engagement and interference are measured against factors including: the likelihood per se of seeking formal employment, sectoral preferences and, the impact of sociocultural barriers on such decisions. While remunerative factors (particularly salary and maternity leave) and sentiment towards a given occupation’s ‘appropriateness’ were observed to have considerable bearing, so was the role played by parents. Parental support is found to significantly reduce the magnitude of sociocultural barriers. Conversely, parental interference results in labor market entry being less likely. Moreover, those whose fathers have tertiary-level education have a significantly higher intention of joining the workforce.

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