During the latest years, the freelancing economy has started to flourish worldwide which led to increased demand in freelancing services across the Middle East too. In the absence of formalized, full-time employment opportunities in the MENA, freelancing started acting as a solution to earn a living. For others, it acts as an additional source of earnings that they add to the salaries of their full-time jobs. Different categories of people in the Middle East are now working as freelancers from students, retirees, freshly graduates, full-time employers, and many different categories of society. Companies in the Middle East did also witness a shift in the work culture with the appearance of the emerging revolution “gig economy” that increased demand in freelancing services across the Middle East too.
In this article, we address those of you who are wondering about the increased demand in freelancing services across the Middle East. Which countries in the MENA region have the highest contribution in the international freelancing trend? What makes freelancing more appealing for both individuals and companies compared to traditional 9-5 jobs?
Increased demand in freelancing services across the Middle East: How much?
According to the Oxford dictionary, the word gig can refer to a temporary task, job, or assignment that involves two parties in an agreement. Along with writers, artists, consultants, and web developers, the gig community also consists of handymen, cleaners, and ride-sharing drivers.
The regional jobs market that offers different obstacles than the international one led to the freelancing economy in the MENA to grow greatly in the past few years. But, the concept of freelancing is still not as developed in the MENA as it is in the US, which is a major country when it comes to freelancing.
When it comes to the Middle East and Northern Africa, data shows that 7 out of 10 professional workers believe that freelancing is a viable source of income. Another information to retain is that 53% percent of them say that their companies hire freelancers for outsourcing which enables increased demand of freelancing services across the MENA.
Freelancing Economy in the UAE
UAE’s freelance economy has witnessed a rise in the past few years, almost in line with the international freelancing trend. The UAE takes 4th place when it comes to the best places to freelance right behind Honk Kong, USA, and South Korea. Considering its online talent-hiring spent, the UAE comes takes 5th rank. With hundreds of thousands of registered freelancers and clients in Dubai and other parts of the United Emirates, the UAE is heading Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Arabic countries that witnessed increased demand in freelancing services across the Middle East.
Freelancing Economy in Northern Africa
Freelancing is rapidly growing across Africa. It provides a variety of opportunities, for both men and women in Northern Africa.
A study done by financial services company Payoneer within which around 21,000 freelancers from 170 countries around the globe were interviewed, shows that Africa holds 10.1% of the world’s freelancers – and could continue to grow.
“Global Internet Freelance Market Overview for 2018” is a study conducted by Analytics Help after the conclusion of research which took data from World Bank and online freelancing sites into account. Basically, the researchers studied the population of online freelancers across the globe, while also giving consideration to what they (the freelancers) do, and which countries they are from. Here are some major facts that have been taken from the study when it comes to freelancing in Northern Africa.
Keny was the highest-ranking African country in the Global Internet Freelance Marketplace Overview for 2018 with a total of 18,042 online freelance workers, of which 14.08 percent were active. These numbers situated Kenya in 15th place on the global rankings.
Countries like Nigeria (31st with 7,897 freelancers), Morocco (33rd with 7,553 freelancers), and Tunisia (43rd with 5,884 freelancers) made up the rest of the top five African countries with the greatest population of online freelance workers.
Increased demand in freelancing services across the Middle East: Why?
Benefits of freelancing for professionals:
1- Another Source of Income: Freelancing is a way to generate extra income, considering that it can be taken as a second job added to the salary of your regular job.
2- Affordability: If you want to start your own business, all you need is skills and some equipment to start being your own boss.
3- Swiftness: Once you get a client, you can start working quickly do you can start getting paid.
4- Independence: Freelancing allows greater independence over a job, from being your own boss to being the one responsible for every aspect of the job.
5- Flexibility: Flexibility is an important factor when it comes to freelancing. Being able to work according to flexible work times and being able to work from any place they want to is the reason that attracted more professionals to start freelancing.
6- Freedom of Choice: By being a freelancer, you can choose the projects you work on. While by being a full-time employee you have to work on the projects assigned to you by your boss.
Join some of the best freelancers in the MENA and get clients
Advantages of Hiring Freelancers:
1- Flexibility: Freelancing talents offer your company flexible access to a variety of services. Freelancers are often available on short notice to fulfill a sudden demand that your in-house team may not be capable of meeting.
2- Special Expertise: Freelancers are usually specialists in their area of expertise. Some freelancers offer services that sometimes no member of your team can provide.
3- Less Risk: Hiring freelancers means reduced risks. Freelancers do not demand unemployment insurance and you can easily be terminated if you are not satisfied with their service.
4- Fewer Costs: Working with freelancers means less rent and equipment costs. If you hire freelancers you will not have for paying certain benefits on behalf of your freelance talent. This includes Medicare, Social Security, health insurance, retirement benefits, and more.
5- High Quality of Work: Considering that reputation is everything when it comes to freelancing, freelancers do their best to provide high-quality services. It is not that formalized employees do not provide high-quality output. But, normal employees may be more sporadic when it comes to consistent quality.
6- Worldwide Reach: When you hire a freelancer, you can pick a worker from any country and any culture which means that your business will be reaching new clients. For example, if your business is American and you want to start reaching Arabic people you just need to hire Arabic freelancers. That way, you can ensure that you understand your new target well.
Hire Highly qualified freelancers in the MENA region
The absence of employment opportunities in the Middle East and Northern Africa region is one of the main factors responsible for the increased demand for freelancing services in the MENA. The benefits of freelancing for both individuals and businesses do also fall under the umbrella of these factors. Another main factor that shouldn’t be neglected, is the ongoing pandemic that has transitioned the traditional approach to work. Professionals and companies are quickly adapting to the new normal.
Digital marketing specialist with a diploma in Business English and a masters degree in English Communication. I am always seeking to learn more and become a better professional. Working as a freelance writer and digital marketer. More about Oumayma