TASC force. The TASC Outsourcing office on Shaikh Zayed Road Image Credit: XPRESS/A.K. Kallouche

Dubai The temporary job market is witnessing a massive boom in the UAE with the events season at its peak and companies hiring short-term staff for various reasons.

Abbas Ali, senior vice-president at TASC Outsourcing, which has placed over 3,500 employees in temporary posts across the UAE, said, “Temporary jobs are no longer alternative opportunities or the last resort as they were once perceived to be. With some sectors going through challenging times, the demand for temporary staff has gone up by 25-30 per cent in the recent past.” He said the UAE’s current temporary job openings, where assignments range from a few days to six months, stands at an estimated 450,000 for 2017. “More companies will start relying on temporary employees to meet their workload demand in the run-up to Expo 2020,” he added.

According to manpower supply and HR consultants, short-term staff opportunities typically hit a high between September and January as there are many trade shows, exhibitions, product launches and other events hosted in the UAE during this fair weather period.

Michelle Chandler, owner of Hostex, a manpower supply company, said, “There is a high demand for temporary staff during these months. We provide experienced registration and ticketing staff, ushers, cashiers, promotion models, stand hostesses, product demonstrators, translators and interpreters for various conferences, exhibitions and events. The numbers vary depending on the requirements.”

Events and exhibition requirements apart, there are many reasons why there is a spurt in temporary jobs.

Rohan Nathan, managing partner of HR consultancy Nathan and Nathan, said, “We are seeing a huge uptake in the temporary job market in Dubai because companies use temporary staff to fill positions when their own employees go on leave or to take on extra help during busier times of the year or to cover additional manpower requirements for specific projects.”

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply for these jobs?

Nathan said, “Typically, dependents of employees working in full time jobs can have a labour card processed and take up temporary employment. Anyone working onshore in the UAE must have the labour card processed, else it is illegal. A similar work permit needs to be obtained in the free zones.”

Manpower supply and outsourcing firms make things easier for short-term job candidates as they take care of the formalities, including background checks and employment contracts. Ali said, “It is important to note that those on visit visas cannot apply for these temporary jobs. Anyone who is a resident and can get a No Objection Certificate from their sponsor can apply. They include students, new graduates, mothers and homemakers, who are either graduates or undergraduates. The basic skill sets required include ability to communicate and computer literacy.”

He said at TASC, applicants either walk in or go the company’s website to register themselves. TASC’s career portal also advertises vacancies.

Ali said, “The most common temporary job vacancies are for categories like sales promoters, receptionists, translators, data entry operators, document controllers, administration executives and customer service agents. Sales promoters and receptionists have the highest demand in the market currently. Nationality-wise, Asians and Arabic-speaking candidates are in high demand.”

The average payouts for temporary jobs, said Ali, could range from Dh150 to Dh600 a day, with a lot of incentives thrown in.

Nathan said, “The average salary depends on the actual role and time of the contract period. Temporary jobs often come with higher pay and additional benefits than traditional jobs.”

The experts said students and housewives must keep their eyes open for temporary and part-time openings as they can lead to permanent jobs.

Nathan said, “About 50 per cent of all temporary employees get absorbed by their client into full time roles. However, it can sometimes take up to four years.”

Permanent role

Ali cited many such examples at TASC itself: Delphina Benny, an Indian who came on board for a temporary role as administration assistant and went on to become a TASCTemp recruiter in a week’s time and is now a recruitment officer on a permanent basis; Adriano Tica Amorio, who worked on short-term projects for a year and a half and is currently on a long-term contract as a sales specialist for a distribution major; and Angielica Lalamonan, who worked for two years and got a permanent role with an international brand.

While temporary assignments have made the cut, experts said flexi-hour and work-from-home jobs are yet to pick up.

Daniyal Qureshi, group exhibition director, Reed Exhibitions said, “There are thousands who stay at home and could be working. We are missing out on a huge pool of resources in the UAE.”

“In countries like the US and in Europe, there is a huge workforce that operates flexi hours and from their homes. This helps not just employers to cut costs and boost productivity, but also those hired as they put their skills to use and optimise the time at their disposal. There are other spin-offs too like reduced traffic and pollution on the roads,” said a stay-at-home Indian engineer and mother of two.

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