UAE is the preferred hub for freelancers in the region

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Freelance Work
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The expanding freelance market in the UAE is set to develop strongly as creative, qualified and up-skilled labor is available in almost every sector.

In recent years, the UAE’s freelance economy has been rising in line with the global trend. The presence of more freelancers in the areas of design, media, architecture, mobile phones, websites and software development have been highlighted in a recent Algorithm Research report.

Algorithm Research is an independent market research company focusing in particular on Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and India.

Similar trends in the UAE freelance industry are also reported by the online marketplace for freelance services. Men make up 62 percent and women make up 38 percent of the UAE’s freelance workforce and most of them are between 21 years and 30 years of age.

Dubai is the preferred destination for freelancers compared to other emirates and depending on the field of work and the amount of years of experience, earnings are substantially different. Dubai remains the focal point, hosting more than 65% of the freelancers in the region. A mixture of acceptance and business opportunities for freelancers in the emirate can be a possible explanation for this.

With just about 16 percent, Abu Dhabi comes second, followed closely by Sharjah with 13 percent. With its business and industrial hub, Rakez, Ras Al Khaimah falls into the group with a two to 10 percent share, while Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain all have less than two percent of the freelancers in the UAE.

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Ketaki Sharma
Algorithm Research

“Freelancers face major challenges such as administrative tasks, client acquisition and late payment issues. Post COVID-19, with companies transitioning from the traditional approach to work and adapting to the new normal, we believe that UAE’s freelancer market can expect some future growth. They companies are now more willing to interact with independent and remote- based workers, trying to keep agile without jeopardizing output.”

In spite of the huge decrease in activities during Ramadan and summer, freelancers will remain key players in the workforce of the UAE. In June 2020, a survey conducted with participants from the MENA region found that 79 percent of respondents agreed that virtual interaction is good enough and 89 percent believed that businesses would prefer employees who operate individually and remotely. The case of freelancers in the MENA region is strengthened by these two interpretations.

Over the past few years, the UAE has been increasingly adaptive to freelance business models. In addition, the initiative taken by the government to alter the regulations and make freelance work visas more accessible and affordable by breaking down the costs instead of a lump sum amount annually has also played a key role in its growth.