Dubai: Freelance work is seeing a surge in demand in 2022, and both workers and employers are looking at freelance arrangements as they shift towards new working patterns in the post-COVID economy.
According to a survey by job portal Bayt.com, 87 per cent of professionals are of the opinion that freelancers across the region have experienced a surge in demand in the past two years.
The 2022 ‘Freelancing in the MENA’ survey aimed to gather opinions from the increasing number of skilled workers who are jumping on the freelance bandwagon. Data revealed that 78 per cent of respondents plan to do more freelance work in 2022.The biggest motivations for taking up freelance work include earning extra income (40 per cent), exploring more career opportunities (23 per cent), learning new skills (21 per cent), and practicing what they like (11 per cent).
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. MENA professionals 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. Bayt.com remains committed to connecting freelancers and businesses to help them grow in today’s digital world.”
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Benefits of hiring freelancers
The survey shows that freelancing is experiencing a real surge as both talented professionals and businesses turn to this mode of work in greater numbers. Seventy per cent of the respondents said that their company is planning to hire freelancers in 2022.
As technology continues to advance, companies and businesses worldwide are quickly adapting to working online, ultimately attracting more remote talent. A majority of survey respondents say that their company always or sometimes offers a full-time job to the freelancer after he/she completes a project (66 per cent).
According to the survey, outsourcing work to freelancers presents multiple benefits for the company as freelancers are better at delivering within tight deadlines (44 per cent), they are good for contingency planning between hires (25 per cent), they provide extra help for small teams or departments (16 per cent) and hiring freelancers is cost-effective (16 per cent).
Fastest-growing industries for freelancers
The fastest-growing industries for freelancers in 2022 include Digital Marketing (37 per cent), Information Technology (20 per cent), Customer Service (12 per cent), Accounting, Banking and Finance (12 per cent), HR and Recruiting (10 per cent) and Graphic Design (10 per cent).
Top skills freelancers must have
Respondents outlined the top skills freelancers must have, which include time management (38 per cent), communication skills (27 per cent), ability to market themselves (19 per cent), leadership (9 per cent) and attention to detail (7 per cent). The survey revealed that freelancers search for jobs on online job sites and professional platforms (69 per cent), social media (12 per cent), companies’ websites (12 per cent) and personal networks (2 per cent).
Common challenges associated with freelancing
Companies in many sectors are facing fast-moving challenges in this digital world and they have to scale quickly in a way they may have not done before. That’s where hiring freelance talent comes in. But freelancers are not without their own challenges, which include lack of job security (55 per cent), less pay compared to full-time jobs (19 per cent), lack of extra benefits (17 per cent) and fewer chances of receiving a promotion (9 per cent).
Data for the 2022 Freelancing in the MENA survey was collected online from January 18 to February 18, 2022. Results are based on a sample of 1,764 respondents from countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Sudan among others.