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Dubai: With lessons learnt from a pandemic-induced income-tightening, hopes to make more money and lead a better lifestyle is driving some UAE residents to take up part-time work without leaving their full-time jobs. Others undertake part-time gigs to pursue a hobby or passion as well as to save extra cash for children’s education or retirement.

With the UAE’s inflation declining by 2.4 per cent year on year during the third quarter of 2020, UAE residents have comparatively higher purchasing power today, compared to 2019-end. However, this was in stark contrast to 2015 and 2016 where the high cost of living forced several expatriates to work part time to supplement their income.

Used to having some extra cash in their pockets over and above their regular salaries, they continue to pursue part-time assignments today to lead a better quality of life, fund their travel expenses and miscellaneous entertainment charges.

Although the cost of living has reduced in the UAE, with salaries too taken down a notch, big spenders are resorting to doing part-time work to continue to fund their lifestyles. Employers are also increasingly hiring more part-time workers and less full-time staffers to optimally manage their operational expenses.

Wages, hiring still a problem in some sectors

Studies have shown that wages in the UAE have not been rising and a majority of people struggle to meet all their household expenses. They are running out of spare cash, with further regional surveys showing that up to 40 per cent of employees across the UAE have not had a salary increase for two years.

Traditional job creating sectors such as retail is still under extreme pressure and analysis by recruitment firms show that businesses are more likely to make do with the reduced headcounts, or recruit selectively. Construction is another sector that could likely see another tough year, alongside the travel and tourism sector, where an immediate recovery on jobs is rated as highly unlikely.

This could be why some residents are opting to take up part-time work to supplement their income. Officially, you can do other work if you have a no-objection letter from your company. You will also need a work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for the intended part-time work.

The government has introduced e-commerce and freelancer visas to regulate online stores, influencers and part-time workers. However, costing a minimum of around Dh6,000, they are still not cheap.


Experts reiterate that part-time work is a great way to boost your income and increase your overall savings rate. If you have useful skills from your career, you can apply that to other areas.

For example, teachers can tutor in the evenings. Or if you have a passion outside work, you can use it to set up an online store, create an online course or teach people in person. You may find that ultimately this takes over as your main source of income. However, be careful not to let your actual job suffer, matter experts also caution.