Emerging Themes on Factors Influencing Career and Employment Decisions: Voices of Individuals with Disabilities from Four Gulf Countries
1.1. Employment of Individuals with Disabilities
1.2. The Study and Its Framework
2.3. Inductive Data Analysis
2.4. Trustworthiness and Credibility
3.1. Factors Influencing Employment and Career Decisions
The other reason is to prove to people that they are wrong about me. I faced bullying and some say that because I have special needs, I need to stay home rather than work. I want to prove them wrong. Even my family did not believe that I can graduate from college. But I did it and proved them wrong.
My colleagues at work know who they are dealing with…We meet them every day and prove to them that we can do lots of things. We can walk and move without help. You don’t have to stand up and walk me or help me. I can prepare my tea and coffee.
I now want to achieve goals, and want to prove to society and family that I am like I was before or maybe better…Thank Allah I proved to them that I am truly better than before. Before, I was working as an operator in a company…Now, I appear on newspapers, TV channels, and meet ministers.
3.3. Emerging Themes of Intrinsic Factors
Currently, he finished the secondary school, we applied for him to the Ministry of administrative development (where they could find a job for him), a group of jobs came up, but most were not suitable and would not fit for his specific disability.
The conditions of blindness and studying abroad scared me, and I was offered a Teaching Assistant position along with a group of young people, to complete our studies abroad and then return back home. I didn’t go through such experience before and I was afraid to go forward with it.
3.4. Believing in God (Allah): Islam
After having the disability, I can say faith is the first thing that kept me going.
Any person who does not accept oneself can be problematic. Our condition must be accepted. If one does not accept oneself, he enters a struggle with the self and is alienated from the community, then the onset of depression, frustration……[and] suicide. For this, the beginning of everything is faith in Allah.
Ambition exists for everyone to reach the highest professional levels, when they are fulfilled, it is up to Allah Almighty…. Success comes from Allah. Allah made things easy for me so that I chose the right choice.
Self-confidence, where does self-confidence come from? Confidence is an extended task of faith in Allah.
A person has to have a strong relation with Allah, and have faith and believe in Allah ability. One’s relationship with Allah should be perennial, one’s self-confidence is Allah given and gives others the confidence in believing.
This is my target, first to make sure that the university major suits what I know and what I can do, and to then if I can achieve the objectives.
So, I chose to join the company that I can do work within my major…a job suitable for my abilities and my degree and training.
They teach us sewing as a part of our occupational training, and it was a swing of dishdasha. And the last year was academic studying with sewing and thanks to Allah I graduated. Being a college graduate I looked for a job, and you know, the difficulty was to find a job was tremendous given I have a physical disability. So I asked help for social allowance and I stayed without work for 10 years. And thanks to Allah, I find a job working for a global clothing company.
I love my job very much it is what I was trained to do.
3.5. Service to Other Individuals with Disabilities
I told people at the Ministry, there are many people who can provide their knowledge and expertise to those who have the same disabilities but I am interested in serving the ”Blinds,” they need people like me. How many people can help and understand them. [It’s] blind people like me who can understand their needs. I want to work with them.
I accepted the job saying that a new position would be a positive thing for me and who would understand more those with special needs than people with those needs?
I had a job while I was preparing my master’s degree. I had to study and teach at the same time. They expected that when we graduate, some of us will come back to the school to work as teachers, so they accepted me instantly.
Additionally, the text that I will be translating will give me the feeling that I did something that people can use. It will also help blind people to get access to information and techniques. That’s why I chose this major [English language].
My job ambition is to work in something that serves people with disabilities in wheelchairs or [who have] quadriplegia. Even if I create my own business I would want to help them.
3.6. Emerging Themes of Extrinsic Factors
3.6.1. Education and Capability Development
Most people with visual disabilities were employed in call centers and some work as a Muezzin1 or as an Imam2. Nowadays there are people with visual disability who have a university education and some them are teachers because we have institutions now that support our study and subsequently job placement.
In PE classes, we were allowed to play some appropriate sports…like basketball and tennis; this was my turning point. We played in the school championship and I won first place. Therefore, a teacher in the school advised me to join the sports club. I stopped my high school…because I was busy with sports, so it was difficult for me to [manage] two things, studying and sports. Thereby, I put my attention more in sports because and the passion I had for it.
That is why I did not have a job even if I want to. My certificate will not qualify me for a good job. Let’s be reasonable, what job will I find! You talk about a disabled person who has a secondary school certificate (high school diploma).
The thing is that I don’t want to be put in a place like archives department. I am trying to obtain a degree to work in an appropriate position. I don’t think there is a person in Doha who works in such a position, so I don’t know if there will be any obstacles.
I entered Science track but my interests were in the arts…there were many difficulties and options were limited for me of course, because of my condition, I cannot enter any specialization, so I entered computer engineering, which involves desktop work and less laboratories. Other engineering specializations need physical movement in labs and on engineering sites, so they were difficult for me to enter.
3.6.2. Government Services
Even if you want to be employed, you do not need to be on the wait to be short listed. You just take your certificate to the special needs authority and they employ you. They usually ask you where you desire to work, and according to your credentials they choose the position that best suits you.
When I graduated, the Ministry of Development helped me find a suitable job. They provided me with a letter to manpower so that they find me a suitable job quickly. But I have not received any response. I was constantly searching for a job. They promised me but nothing tangible came up. I stayed for almost five years at home after graduating.
The government were not interested in people with disabilities. There were no facilities in getting a job. Even if you don’t have a secondary school certificate, they should employ you in a comfortable place like an office. They should not employ you in a place that require a hard place not appropriate for individuals with disabilities.
Medical retirement was compulsory because I can’t carry a weapon and wear the uniform; the two required things for my job. I swear the government does all it can do. It is the best government in the world for people with disabilities…I say it out loud.
To be frank, I feel comfortable with this situation. I feel that if I walk again, I must start everything from the beginning again, and deal with the world again from the beginning. The second reason is that I do not want to lose the accommodations and the resources that they avail for us. Having no disability, I will not receive any of the benefits.
I am not working now, thanks to Allah the money I receive is enough for me as a single person…I spend my money on myself, and I save the rest. Every two years there is a wheelchair provided for me from the government upon my request, with special options. For others, the amount may be too small to support their lifestyle and their own family. So, they forgo the subvention, agree to work in a job that pays more than the subvention even though they are still considered underpaid based on their degree qualifications.
Some people with visual disabilities were getting subventions from the country…I did not get that money as I have a job. Some of my friends had to sign papers that they their employment was below their qualifications and that they should not [claim] additional benefits…I have a house now and a family and children. I used to live in my parents’ house but not anymore.
All what I wanted is to have a job because we faced financial problems at home. To be honest, all what I wanted is to have a job and depend on myself rather than my family. Alhamdulillah [All praises be to Allah], I have a job now in the government sector.
3.6.3. Social Network
If I didn’t talk with my mother, and hear her prayers, I feel that I didn’t complete my day, I would think that something was wrong. These are the most important things in my life that make me feel I can achieve and reach to places that I never could have reached.
He said to me, come and give it a try, you fit that place, you can achieve success and represent your nation…They are the first ones who encouraged me, and they said that that being in sports is virtuous. It is up to you; you can do what makes you feel comfortable.
[My family members] took me to the club in my first days to see how everything is going, and whether I am comfortable in the place or not. They helped me become independent.
Especially now after they knew who I am and what I achieved, so many people were coming to greet me. They were saying things no one can expect to hear. They said I am champion, “you are not disabled but, we are, because we are the ones who are inactive doing nothing. You raised the Kuwaiti flag!…. People were coming with their kids to take pictures with me. Those people and fans were a big motivation for me and likewise to people with disabilities, and people now are more aware than ever about our situation.
I describe my personality as normal. Alhamdullilah [I] am a social person. I love to be with people. I am not isolated because isolation will has challenges. I remember people with visual disabilities in Bahrain were alienated from the rest of society in the 1990s to Bahrain now, [people with disabilities] have jobs today.
3.6.4. Employers and the Work Environment
They allowed me to continue as a trainee with them…The internship period was supposed to be two years, after that, [they] can terminate my contract because I will not be qualified anymore. However, they really supported me, they even brought me the contract while I was on bed and I signed the renewal, and I received the salary. They also said to me go study abroad, we don’t have any problem.
They told me that they want people with disabilities so that they stay in the job, the job offers a low salary and that the person with disabilities will be satisfied with the wages. I heard this more than three times in job interviews. They mentioned it to me directly. I left the interview and didn’t complete the interview. The qualification for hiring required high school graduates low and offered about 325 Omani Riyals per month.
There is a salary for para-professionals and rewards given whether for achievement or internal rewards from the club. We also have Ramadan courses that are held in the club and during championship tournament. They are always honoring winners, so thanks to Allah they are not negligent in this matter.
3.7. Good/Poor Work Environment
Then there was a call. They told me that you passed the first interview and you have a second interview with the service department and with the IT to see what your needs are. At that time, it was impossible for that kind of service and attention to be available anywhere else.
I don’t like my job because my job depends on other units so if I apply for something I have to wait for approval or rejection, and they take a long time…So how would I improve myself and the university if there is no cooperation? So, the main problem is that our unit can’t be effective with all the bureaucratic barriers. When it reaches those who are assigned for the job, they delay the reply or ask for unreasonable things…You asked me how my job is. I would say it is comfortable but if I find another job, I will go for it.
The first company I worked at was for seven years. I felt discrimination there. I didn’t get any promotions. I don’t know how they look at me though I was a hard-working person. I asked for a promotion, but I didn’t have a chance. I got promoted in the governmental sector once and due to the economic situation in Oman [that followed after], promotion had to stop.
The jobs offered to me are not appropriate, [it] only to cover 2% of the workforce for the handicapped imposed by government. The nature of the work is not suitable like a phone operator, a receptionist, etc. I rejected those positions; my ambition is greater.
I am injured now, and you know, if I leave the field of sports, I won’t have a retirement salary. The compensation salary is not like a salary for a job. Up till today, we have not signed an agreement …… There have been three months with no payments.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
A Muezzin is the person who proclaims the call to the daily prayer at a mosque.
Imam is the person who leads Muslim worshippers in prayer at a mosque.
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|Question Category||Interview Question|
(When Participant Is Not Able to Respond Verbally, Questions Are Slightly Amended to Ask the Accompanying Person to Respond on Behalf of the Participant.)
|Background||Could you tell me about yourself and how your background has impacted you and your efforts to accomplish your personal goals? What are the factors impacting your efforts to accomplish the goals you want to achieve?||(Achola and Greene 2016; Banks 2017; Ford 2012; Shogren 2011; Thoma et al. 2016)|
|Problem Solving||Could you tell me about a significant challenge that you may have had as you were growing up or one that you may have had recently?||(NTACT 2017; Shogren 2011; Thoma et al. 2016; Wehmeyer and Shogren 2017)|
|Decision Making||What factors influenced you when making decisions about your future (family, work, further education, etc.)?||(NTACT 2017; Shogren 2011; Thoma et al. 2016; Wehmeyer and Shogren 2017)|
|Disability and Opportunities||Do you think that your disability made a difference in the educational opportunities you had? Do you think your disability makes a difference in the opportunites you will have in the future?||(Achola and Greene 2016; Banks 2017; Griffin 2011; Mazzotti et al. 2016; Shogren and Ward 2018)|
|Activities||Tell me about your educational experiences. How did you choose your school, courses and extracurricular activities? What influenced your decisions about classes and/or participation in extracurricular activities?||(Achola and Greene 2016; Griffin 2011; Martin and Williams-Diehm 2013; NTACT 2017; Shogren 2011; Thoma et al. 2016; Shogren and Ward 2018; Wehmeyer and Shogren 2017; Wehmeyer and Webb 2011)|
|Barriers||Do you see any barriers to getting what you want for your adult life? What are they?|
Are there things you can think of to do to overcome those barriers?
|(Ford 2012; Griffin 2011; Shogren 2011; Thoma et al. 2016; Trainor et al. 2020; Trainor et al. 2012)|
|Identity (Disability)||Age||Gender/Nationality||Social Status||Highest Education Level||Employment Status|
|Single||Higher education degree||Governance department|
|Single||Higher education degree||Governance department|
|Participant 3 (Autism spectrum disorder)||20||M/|
|Single||Secondary level||Family business|
(Quadriplegic due to traffic accident)
|Married||High school||Retired after accident|
|Single||Diploma from a technical college||Call center employee in a telecommunications company|
|single||High school||National para-athlete|
|Single||Bachelor degree in Translation Studies||Translator and media specialist|
|Married||Bachelor degree in Business||Athletes’ relations representative|
|Single||Undergraduate student||Former national para-athlete for 5 years|
|Single||Master degree in Education||English teacher in a local school for the visually-impaired|
|Married||High school||Para-athlete at a disability club|
(physical and visual disability)
|Single||Bachelor degree||Accessibility Specialist at a local university|
|Single||Secondary level||Employee at a call center|
|Single||High school||Employee at a call center|
|Married||Bachelor degree||Tax inspector|
|Drive/Motives||Emerging Themes of Factors||Sub-Factors|
|Faith/Islam||Acceptance as part of faith|
Confidence as part of faith
|Service to other individuals with disabilities||-|
|Extrinsic||Environmental||Employers and the work environment||Employment and training|
Good/poor work environment
Prejudice against individuals with disabilities
|Government policies||Efficacy and enforcement of disability quota|
|Education and capability development||Special education and disability support services|
Better job prospects
Knowledge and skill application
|Government services||Varying employment support|
Effects of disability benefit systems
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Al-Hendawi, M.; Thoma, C.A.; Habeeb, H.; Khair, M.S. Emerging Themes on Factors Influencing Career and Employment Decisions: Voices of Individuals with Disabilities from Four Gulf Countries. Soc. Sci. 2022, 11, 371. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11080371
Al-Hendawi M, Thoma CA, Habeeb H, Khair MS. Emerging Themes on Factors Influencing Career and Employment Decisions: Voices of Individuals with Disabilities from Four Gulf Countries. Social Sciences. 2022; 11(8):371. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11080371Chicago/Turabian Style
Al-Hendawi, Maha, Colleen A. Thoma, Hawraa Habeeb, and Muhammad Salman Khair. 2022. "Emerging Themes on Factors Influencing Career and Employment Decisions: Voices of Individuals with Disabilities from Four Gulf Countries" Social Sciences 11, no. 8: 371. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11080371