Original Research

The impact of human resource practices on employee retention: A study of three private higher educational institutions in the United Arab Emirates

Sami Alajlani, Lawal O. Yesufu
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 20 | a1823 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v20i0.1823 | © 2022 Sami Alajlani, Lawal O. Yesufu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 November 2021 | Published: 11 July 2022

About the author(s)

Sami Alajlani, Department of Finance, Faculty of Business, Centre for Business and Economic Research, Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Lawal O. Yesufu, Department of Business Analytics, Faculty of Business, Centre for Business and Economic Research, Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates


Orientation: Human resource (HR) practices have a significant impact on building the perceptions that define the relationships between employees and employers. Hence, it is imperative to develop further knowledge on how these HR practices impact employee retention within the higher education context.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between various HR practices and employee retention in an organisation. The article also investigates the effect of HR practices across employees of various demographic backgrounds, such as citizens and expatriates.

Motivation for the study: The limited research was conducted on employee retention in higher education despite the fundamental role that higher education institutions play in driving innovation, developing knowledge capital and research and development.

Research design: Descriptive statistical analysis and multiple regression analysis with a sample size of 270 employees working across three higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAEs).

Main findings: The findings showed that HR practices can improve employees’ retention, with moderate positive perceptions amongst UAE citizens, but an unsatisfactory level of perception and effect of human resource practices amongst expatriates.

Practical implications: The results indicate a difference in the effects of HR practices across various demographics within the same the section. Hence, HR management should be looking at a unification of HR practices to obtain unified results in loyalty, commitment and employee retention.

Contribution: However, the results also indicated that this gap in employees’ retention can be minimised by improving on empowerment and compensation and benefits, with even more enforcements of training.


higher education; human resource management; HRM practices; employee retention; UAE


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