Remote working had been around as an option for a while, but it emerged as a trend last year, as businesses and professionals adapted to a new normal. At a time when employees at major firms set up their own workspaces at home, many Emirati companies looked for freelancers as they pushed back towards a recovery amid financial uncertainty.
The UAE is home to a large number of people offering their services remotely, and about 65% of these freelancers are based out of Dubai. Marking a shift in the way businesses are functioning, World Economic Forum revealed that opportunities for freelancers in the digital sector have surged by 200%.
Content creators that produce podcasts or write blogs were the most sought after digital professionals last year, and digitisation in the country has been credited for the development. The research also mentioned that a tech-savvy environment where innovation is encouraged, also works in favour of online freelance pros.
The UAE has provided a boost for remote working through policy decisions, including visas specifically aimed at talented people providing services remotely. The Emirati capital Abu Dhabi also started offering freelancer licenses at AED530 last year, and the country allows freelance workers to contribute in 48 different sectors.
The surge in hiring comes as a positive development at a time when a survey revealed that almost 88% professionals in the Middle East are looking forward to freelance work in the coming year. Apart from making extra cash on the side acting as a key motivation, about 23% cited flexibility, and 22% mentioned better work-life balance as benefits that drove them towards exploring freelance opportunities.
The same research found that 52% businesses feel freelancers are better at delivering within tight deadlines, and many companies see them as a cost-effective way to secure services. Finding work for freelancers in the region has also been easy in the past year, with 40% finding assignments within a week thanks to online portals.