DKV Research Papers

The following research paper section is an initiative launched by Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village, focusing on research in the areas of business and corporate related issues whilst offering market data to serve the UAE business community.

DIAC and DKV aims to support and nurture the business community in Dubai by providing significant data analysis and a corporate research bank.

We aim to offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise in areas of research and consultancy, offering up-to-date analysis on business research data, results and resolutions.

Emirati graduates choose government over private sector jobs - According to a report by DKV Business Partner

UAE graduates prefer to work for government organisations rather than UAE private sector firms and multinational companies, according to a research study conducted by online recruiting firm,, in association with ten leading universities in the UAE.

The study, entitled "Recruiting Top Emirati Graduates", found that 86% of Emirati male graduates and 66% of females prefer to work in the government sector after graduation. Multinationals were second in popularity, with UAE private sector firms being the last choice, preferred by just 4% of males and 10% of females.

Respondents cited higher salary and benefits, better working conditions and greater job security as the main reasons for the appeal of the government sector.

The study shows that Abu Dhabi investment firm Mubadala is the employer of choice for the majority of graduates, followed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Masdar (also a subsidiary of Mubadala), Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

A significant number of graduates interviewed by said that they were attracted by the prospect of working with other Emiratis. While they were open to working with other cultures and nationalities, many felt more comfortable in a predominantly Emirati workplace where they shared common habits and where they could be sure that their culture and values were fully understood and hence respected, according to the study.

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A Decade of Opportunity- The Coming Expansion of the Private-school Market in the GCC

Booz & Company

booz-and-coThe private-school market is growing rapidly in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), presenting a  significantopportunity for investors and school operators. A combinationof demographic factors, a desire for higher quality, and GCCparents' increased willingness to pay for education will all driveprivate-school enrollment at substantial growth rates over thecoming decade. The currently fragmented market offers substantialopportunities in both new investment and consolidation, forboth new and existing players. In order to capitalize on theseopportunities, the region must overcome several key challenges,chief among them an immature operating environment characterizedby a lack of transparency and consistency regardingregulations in the sector. In addition, constraints on financingnew schools in the region, fragmented ownership structures thatoffer few economies of scale, and a lack of information for parentsregarding school quality have all inhibited the growth of theprivate-school market thus far. Although sophisticated investorsare expressing clear interest, many are reluctant to take action.

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A different kind of Education…

Most people focus on (and spend tons of money on) higher education which is all fine. But formal education shouldn't stop when you leave college, especially if you want to set up and run a business.

Let me explain. Entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) make up a significant portion of the GDP in many countries. Not only that, they are a major job creator. Hence the whole task of setting up and running SMEs cannot be ignored or left to chance.

In his book Small Business Management, Michael Ames gives 8 reasons for small business failure: Lack of experience, Insufficient capital, Poor location, Poor inventory management, Over-investment in fixed assets, Poor credit arrangements, Personal use of business funds and unexpected growth. You will notice the words in italics; five of the 8 reasons given are directly or indirectly finance related.

I have met quite a few entrepreneurs and their ignorance of financial basics is very worrying. The reason is simple. Most entrepreneurs are specialists in HR, Sales, Marketing or IT and they are probably very good at what they do. Many start up CEOs have the vision and the drive to turn their idea into reality. But what they often lack is the financial know how.

Let me give some examples.

Most entrepreneurs start off with scarce capital and have ambitious plans. Equity is more easily available but is terribly expensive. Debt is cheaper but banks are tight fisted with their money these days, even in giving money to reputed companies. Yet very few entrepreneurs have thought about how they will go about raising long term money. The world of angel investors, venture capital and private equity is quite foreign to them. And its not only access to adequate finance we are talking about- when start up financiers give cash they also help in many other ways.

Or take working capital management. Start ups often don't have the luxury of dictating credit terms to buyers and suppliers; they have no choice but pay advances to suppliers (or accept short credit periods) and give credit to clients. Throw in fast obsolescent stock, bad debts and tight competition from established players with deeper pockets and suddenly managing working capital becomes critical. The idea of working capital is rarely well understood, much less on how to manage this. There are many well tested ways of reducing receivables and stock and managing your creditors, techniques that are fairly simple and require little if any investment in people and technology.

Cost analysis is another weak area. Few entrepreneurs have a good idea of their cost structure or know what their break even sales are and even fewer use it properly. This is a simple but powerful tool that tells you at what level of activity do you start making profits (or slide into the red). And application of this concept can work wonders in business. A related concept is Operating Leverage which helps a company boost profits by playing on its cost structure….

I can go on but I think the point is clear. So what is to be done? Education is an obvious solution.

Executive MBAs are a good option but they can get very expensive and is over a large-ish period of time, normally a year or so, which is simply too long for someone running a business and with short and medium term business problems to solve. Also, most Entrepreneurs really don't care about big name Universities as long as they learn enough to handle their business

Reading up on finance is always helpful but it is supplementary, not a substitute for a structured training program. And its not very efficient either; you can arguably learn twice as much in half the time if you attend a finance course.

So look for a course that offers not just theoretical learning but also training that is practical and localized. Something that does not require you to be away for long from your business. A program that not only covers the basics but fits within your budget as well. Most importantly, ensure the people delivering the course have not only qualifications in finance but (ideally) experience in the corporate world whether it is heading a large finance department or running a business.

The past three years have transformed the landscape for most businesses. Demand has dropped sharply, liquidity is much lower and margins are thinner. Getting up to speed on Finance was never more important.

Binod Shankar is a Chartered Accountant and a CFA Charterholder. He is a presenter and trainer and runs Genesis, a financial training company. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . URL:

The GCC Market For Executive Education Revealed

Research by MBS & DIAC
February 2011

Many organisations in the region engage in executive education. However, a significant proportion does not, which represents a potential growth opportunity for providers. Overall current provision is perceived to be 'satisfactory' indicating that there are opportunities for improvement and growth. However, many organisations find provision to be 'good'. Companies primarily pitch executive education at senior and middle management, although there is a significant market at board level and junior management.

In partnership, Manchester Business School, Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City conducted a study to evaluate current perceptions of, and attitudes to, executive education in the region.

A quantitative online survey was conducted with companies in a range of sectors across the 6 GCC countries. This was distributed to a target of 26,000 Training Managers, Human Resource Managers, Senior executive managers, Line managers and Department heads. A small number of short telephone interviews were also conducted with key organisations.

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Keeping Your Customers…When it Matters!

 Research by Third Eye & DKV
December 2009

With the global economy experiencing one of the worst recessions in history over the last 24 months, most managers have had to navigate their organisations through unchartered waters. Never has the business environment been more challenging since the great depression. It is said that the mark of effective leadership is not how you manage in the good times, but how you manage when the environment is tough. Under the pressure of tightening credit, liquidity squeezes, reduced market demand and intensifying competition.

Third Eye FZ LLC in partnership with Dubai Knowledge Village surveyed around 400 mid and senior level managers in organisations across the GCC to gauge how they are managing perhaps the most critical element of their business – the customer. We wanted to understand how well organisations in the region were managing issues such as retaining existing customers, focusing on the most profitable customers, and improving the value delivered to customers as a way of defending market share and enhancing returns…when it really matters.

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The EQ Survey

Research by Six Seconds & DKV
November 2009

There are numerous studies documenting the relationship between emotional intelligence and various aspects of performance, but this is one of the first studies of this kind in the Middle East. The UAE, one of the region's business centers, is the base for a wide range of businesses led by an incredibly diverse mix of leaders from all over the globe.
This study was conducted by Six Seconds (global) and Six Seconds Middle East in partnership with Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV), the region's first and largest center for human resource management professionals. Focused on Human Resources, Learning, and Leadership, the 450 business partners form part of a long-term economic strategy to develop the region's talent pool and accelerate its move into a knowledge-based economy. DKV is a part of TECOM Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Holdings, one of the major economic engines of the region

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Making your Organisation Effective United Arab Emirates

Research by Hewitt Associates
October 2009

Organizational effectiveness is about driving a set of systems and processes that ensure a strong alignment of your workforce strategies to your business strategy and direction. It is also a measure of how well your organization is equipped to handle changes in market conditions and how resilient and adaptable your workforce strategies are to the external environment. In a rapidly evolving environment like today's, the need for organizations to build this resilience and agility is more than ever before. It has become imperative for firms to explore different ways of making their organization more effective and act upon them at the earliest.

This report examines the various steps organizations in the UAE have taken over the last few months in light of the economic situation to boost their organizational effectiveness. The findings have been collated from the Hewitt UAE TCM Survey 2009 survey conducted from April through till August 2009.

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Participant Report United Arab Emirates

Research by Hewitt Associates
October 2009

Hewitt's Total Compensation Measurement™ (TCM) serves more than 7,000 organizations in over 40 international markets in 2009. TCM surveys globally report all compensation components including fixed pay, short -term and long-term incentives, benefits, and perquisites for more than 350 executive, management, professional and non-professional jobs across a broad range of industries. 
The Hewitt Total Compensation Measurement Study for the United Arab Emirates (TCM UAE) provides data for over 180 global positions throughout multiple industries for over 101 premier organizations across the UAE in 2009.

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Profile and Mobility Trends of the CEOs in the GCC region

Research by Stanton Chase & DKV
December 2008

On the break of a new era, currently characterized by the deep economic recession and the constant efforts to establish a new international modus vivendi, the CEO market in the GCC region is witnessing unexpected changes that alter its image and seem to establish a long-delayed balance. Top executives are beginning to regard the UAE and the whole GCC region as a market for long term business development, as opposed to the rather more opportunistic short-term plans of the past. As such, they question quality and C-level decision making, raising issues of personal and career development, shortage in leadership talent as well as retention of talent in the current GCC environment.

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Leadership in the UAE

Research by The Core Group & DKV
June 2008

Organizations today are looking for more than effective managers. They are looking for engaged people who can think, see and plan at the same time. They want people who can create something that doesn't  exist as of yet, and not just manage what already exists. They are looking for leaders, at every level. 

However, when you ask 10 people what makes a good leader you are likely to get 15 different responses.The purpose of our study was to get some feedback from the business community in the UAE as to what they feel they need from their leaders. Much work has been done globally on trying to identify what makes a good leader, however, many qualities were seen as culturally contingent i.e. they are seen as positive in some cultures and negative in others.

The objective of this study was not to replicate the work of  others who have produced concrete results, but to look at these culturally contingent issues and try to establish how they are perceived in the UAE

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