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Employers’ hiring decisions in Oman: An examination of what employers look for when hiring graduates and why

Al Hatmi, Khalifa 2022. Employers’ hiring decisions in Oman: An examination of what employers look for when hiring graduates and why. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Whilst the relationship between education and labour market outcomes has been researched across a wide range of fields such as sociology, economics and psychology, relatively little research has been carried out in developing countries. This thesis expands the understanding of the relationship between education and work to a rentier state context, Oman, by examining employers’ hiring decisions. More specifically, this research explores what factors employers rely on when hiring graduates in three occupations - accountants, software developers and mechanical engineers - and why. A mixed-methods design consisting of a factorial survey and semi-structured interviews was adopted to investigate the extent to which employers attach value to various educational and social capital attributes and in what ways employers’ assessment of applicants varies across occupational and organisational contexts. Contrary to much research in this area, which is de-contextualised, the thesis makes context a central part of the analysis by looking at the influence of the occupational and organisational context in the determination of the value of different attributes at the time of recruitment. In addition, this study incorporates public policies in the analysis, to explore their relevancy in employers’ decisions and their interplay with candidates’ education and social capital attributes. This is done with reference to Omanisation policies (that aim to ensure high quality job opportunities for Omanis) in the factorial survey but also with reference to wage setting regulations, which were discussed by interview participants. This thesis found that employers rely on a combination of educational attributes (i.e. relevant field of study, bachelor’s degree, high GPA, leading university), as well as other social and demographic characteristics (referrals from higher education institutions, nationality, gender) alongside levels of work experience including internships to hire job candidates with some differences noted between the three occupations researched. The findings indicated that a combination of theories explains employers’ hiring decisions in the Omani labour market better than any single individual theory, but also that some recruitment preferences cannot be easily accommodated within the main tenets of extant theories. In discussing its findings, this thesis contributes methodologically, theoretically, and empirically to understanding, in a critical way, employers’ hiring decisions and their preferences and perceptions of the role of educational attributes, social capital and public policy (Omanisation, but also wage regulations) in a rentier state context and opens windows for further research in similar contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 February 2023
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 10:43

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