Of late, the employment front has noticeably shifted towards the fitting gig economy, supported by businesses’ reluctance towards permanent contracts following the pandemic disruption.
This has spawned the growth of independents, offering diverse skills such as business development, consultation, and coaching. The Global Innovation Index identifies the UAE, for the 5th time, as the leading environment for innovation in the Arab World, it is no coincidence a freelancer demand grows alongside this accolade.
Where did all the freelancers come from?
Covid saw many businesses in Dubai downsize, shift to hotdesking or working from home, ultimately requiring fewer contracted employees who were often older, more experienced candidates. With fewer secure opportunities and increased disposable time, entrepreneurs took advantage of the situation. Backed by technological capabilities, coinciding with the requirement for innovation, these empowered individuals possessing the desired skills, backed by available resources (sometimes simply a laptop), gained control and began offering their services, with a greater work/life balance and the freedom to choose for passion or finance.
Why the demand?
As the UAE’s journey towards their “vision of the future”, the necessity for skilled individuals such as architects, engineers, and teachers has never been greater.
Traditionally, SMEs faced extensive and costly employee training, with an uncertainty of commitment. Nowadays, availability and negotiable fees make the most viable option, with skilled workers accessible for fixed duration and cost.
What about long-term employees?
Freelancers are often considered financially driven, offering a one-size-fits-all product. By contrast, employees with sick/holiday pay and pension plan benefits hold a vested interest in the business, delivering with long-term business goal alignment. It can however be argued that motivation fluctuates in long-term employees, and constant ‘bonuses’ are required to maintain commitment, questioning the integrity of their effort.
Freelance or not…
The potential for freelancers is vast, not to mention a convenient tool to utilise, although not without their limitations to your core business values. Could the freelance-driven approach be the best way forward? A hand-picked talent for each project based on the required skillsets. Or will the dedication and insights of contracted employees trump their ‘convenient’ counterpart?
An article by Gautam Gajjar.