Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor
The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.
Demand for freelancers across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region has surged over the past two years and the similar trend is expected to continue in near future, says a top official of business consultancy.
Referring to the recent survey by Bayt.com, Ascent Partners managing partner Pratik Rawal said there is a wide scope for freelancers in the Mena region in general and the UAE in particular due to visa and labour reforms introduced in the country recently.
“We anticipate huge opportunities for freelancers in the region due to favourable environment created following visa and labour reforms introduced by the UAE. The advancements in technology and the adaptability of remote working also played a key role in this regard,” Rawal said.
Ascent Partners is a business setup consultant that provides bespoke solutions to help the entrepreneurs, executives and decision-makers to strategise, start-up and scale-up freelance business in Dubai. It also provide services ranging from choosing the right company type for business and selecting the right licence for freelance venture in one of the world’s biggest business hubs.
Referring to Bayt.com survey, Rawal said about 87 per cent of freelance professionals noticed an increase in demand for their services since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic while 78 per cent said they planned to do more freelance work in 2022.
“Freelancers have a bright future ahead especially professionals who have good knowledge of digital marketing, information technology, graphic designing and customer service. Experts in accounting, banking, finance, HR and recruiting will also see good prospects in freelance work,” Rawal opined.
The Bayt study, conducted from January 18 to February 18, polled around 1,764 people from 18 Mena countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
The survey found that almost 70 per cent businesses in the Mena region plan to hire freelancers in 2022 owing to the number of benefits that it entails for companies.
Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com said the traditional expectations of Mena workplaces have transformed, and many professionals are opting for change.
“Professionals across the Mena region are increasingly building flexible careers on their own terms, based on their passions, desired lifestyles and access to a much broader pool of opportunities than ever before,” Haddad said.
The jobs market in the UAE has recovered strongly due government’s fiscal and monetary measures to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and economic challenges. Experts and analysts hailed the government’s timely policy measures and said the UAE is going to be an ideal hub for freelancers.
Working remotely during the height of the pandemic caused many professionals to look for a more flexible work-life balance. This led to the Great Resignation trend which saw millions of workers around the world resigning from their jobs to opt for a freelance gig.
According to the Bayt survey, almost 44 per cent of respondents said that freelancers are better at delivering within tight deadlines, 25 per cent believe they are good for contingency planning and 16 per cent said they provide extra help for small teams or departments, while 16 per cent said hiring freelancers is cost-effective.
“Dubai is one of the best cities in the world to start a freelance business in. With benefits including hassle-free visa and licensing services, unmatched safety and security, a variety of business activities to choose from, a high-quality lifestyle and much more, Dubai offers the right platform to help kickstart your freelance business off on the right foot,” Fadi Rizkallah, General Manager of Freedom2work, said.
Moreover, Bayt survey also found that around 88 per cent of employers are looking for freelancers with good time management skills, followed by an ability to communicate well (27 per cent), leadership qualities (9 per cent) and attention to detail (7 per cent).
Although companies are looking to hire freelancers to help scale their businesses and overcome the challenges presented by today’s fast-paced digital world, freelancers also have to face their challenges which could include inconsistent pay, lack of job security and even lack of extra benefits. It, therefore, becomes important to ensure that freelancers enjoy a secure lifestyle and are able to provide their services legally in the country.