Empowering youth – the freelance way

There are multiple ways going freelance can empower young people. Whether you are looking to fill up your free time with a couple of challenging tasks or break the routine that has been dictating your life, a challenging freelance project can make for an exciting experience whose lessons could stay with you forever.

The financial benefit

I don’t blame you if when you say, see, hear or read the word “job”, the first thing you think of is “how much?” We all work to make money—at least the vast majority of people. The flexible nature of student freeancerfreelance work and the fact that most projects are short-term could lead to a freelancer being paid higher rates than those a full-timer would be receiving for doing the same exact job. Looking for freelance work might be your best option if you’re a university student looking to make some pocket money while still having some extra time to do homework, read, or go out with friends. While some worry that freelance might not be a stable prospect in the long run, a bigger number of clients—and more projects—can ensure an almost-stable flow of income. Perhaps one of the best advantages of being a freelancer is the fact that you usually don’t have too many expenses — make sure to inform the client beforehand if you need to go to the field, travel, or buy material, and make sure to make sure they will cover the expenses. Starting to make money at a young age leads to financial independence, and the latter not only liberates you, but also empowers you.

Developing skills before you hit the marketplace

Although you might choose to go exclusively freelance and never have to spend time in an office ever again, you might also decide to accept a full-time job offer at a certain point. Regardless of the professional direction you deem fit, it is crucial that you start working on acquiring and developing basic skills so that when you hit the marketplace, you do so running. Freelance work can complement your studies in a way that classes and professors can only talk about—theoretically, for the most part. Marketing yourself as the right person for the job, agreeing with clients on the terms and conditions of a task, delivering, reviewing and finding quick, effective solutions to overcome daily obstacles are all activities you would have to do on an almost-daily basis while freelancing your way through the pre-career phase of your life. More know-how and a set of social skills is bound to empower you, maybe not overnight, but most definitely somewhere down the line.

Staying ahead of the curve

Competition is fierce out there. It’s a cut-throat job hunt that could leave many scarred for life, especially if you’re one of those people who get their hopes a bit too high a bit too fast. Although you will most probably be scanning the market for entry-level positions upon graduating from university (or high school if you’re too eager), all employers will ask you to submit both a CV and a cover letter, and they usually expect neither to be blank. Being a freelancer is in many ways similar to doing an internship at home. Only difference is: you would actually be doing work! By the time you decide to apply for more senior, higher-paying positions, you would have managed to learn and achieve more than your peers of the same age.

 

New technology changes the working day, offering a strategy for more jobs in the Middle East

1979484_619765591437049_986949330_n

 

This blog post originally appeared in the World Bank’s Voices & Views: Middle East & North Africa on 3/28/14.  The original post can be seen here: http://blogs.worldbank.org/arabvoices/new-technology-changes-the-working-day-mena

It’s no secret that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the highest youth unemployment rate in the entire world: nearly 30% according to the International Labour Organization. Over one in four young people have no viable means for economic prosperity, and sadly education is no guarantor of a job. Despite these bleak statistics, a recent survey commissioned by Qatar’s telecom giant, Orredoo, suggests that young people still have hope of a great future, fueled in large part by the innovations of the 21st century. The challenge is to innovate technology and alter our way of thinking about work to motivate MENA’s youth.

Technology Enabling Prosperity

This is a pivotal moment, one of tremendous historical and technological change, as well as overwhelming challenges for the region. The hope technology brings, however, is a potential game changer, both economically and for regional stability overall. The World Bank recently published a study highlighting the economic opportunities of accelerating high-speed internet access. The authors of this study note this region would look significantly different if more women and young people had access to high-speed internet. For while technology is only a means to a better life, and not an end in itself, using it effectively to further economic prosperity and job creation is critical.

What MENA’s Youth Want

A new report, “New Horizons: Young, Arab and Connected,” commissioned by Ooredoo, surveyed more than 10,500 young adults in 17 countries across the region, and found that 9 out of 10 young MENA citizens believed that Internet access could help them fulfill their hopes for a job. This study also found that for young people lucky enough to have jobs, 45% of them are not doing what they would like to do. While it might be easy to dismiss this, when considering the unemployment statistics, motivating youth effectively to contribute to the economic good of the region is important in gaining the most out of this region’s best assets: its young people full of hope and promise.

Redesigning Work: Beyond the Traditional 9-5

Perhaps it’s time this region takes a hard look at the way we work and redesign a path moving forward that takes into account both the emerging technologies and the way this current generation–which accounts for approximately one third of MENA’s population of about 340 million–views the world. A report by Aruba Networks on “Gen Mobile” found that half of the survey’s participants of youth aged between 18 and 35, work most efficiently outside of the traditional 9am-5pm working hours, and also want more flexible work. Harvard Business Review’s blog also discusses this emerging trend: the 20th century work schedule was not the first work schedule, nor will it be the last.

An Emerging Trend: Independent Work

Throughout the world, working independently and the concept of freelance work has become much more popular: it is estimated that within the next six years 40% of Americans will work independently. Deloitte recently conducted a survey of Millennials, a term used to refer to people born from the early 1980s to around the 2000s, which found that 70% of Millennials want to work independently. A new way of work that taps into the technology this generation has grown up with, and gives a sense of autonomy, which behavioral economists deem important, could give this generation in the MENA region a better sense of self-determination and overall wellbeing. Although there is currently an ongoing debate about the pros and cons of independent work, research suggest that when people are given autonomy, health and wellbeing improve.1

Although the idea of independent work is still a relatively new concept for the modern Middle East, a peer-to-peer economy is as old as the Silk Road: merchants directly exchanging goods and services. Today’s roads are now virtual, driven in large part by the Internet. In a world where technology continues to change almost every aspect of our lives, it is now contributing towards a more hopeful future for this region’s youth.  The challenge is to re-imagine and rewire ourselves for 21st century work not based upon an outdated construct from a past era, but rather one that taps into what some economists recognize as basic human motivation.

1 Valery Chirkov, Richard M. Ryan, Youngmee Kim, and Ulas Kaplan, “Differentiating Autonomy from Individualism and Independence: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective on Internalization of Cultural Orientations and Well-Being,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84 ( January 2003); Joe Devine, Laura Camfield, and Ian Gough, “Autonomy or Dependence—or Both?: Perspectives from Bangladesh,” Journal of Happiness Studies 9, no. 1 ( January 2008). 

Students in the Middle East, Nabbesh is Looking for You!

nabbesh-student (1)

Nabbesh is proud to announce the launch of our Student Business Ambassador Program, and we are currently recruiting for our inaugural class of students! Please read more about this exciting new opportunity for students to see if it may be a good fit for you!

The Nabbesh Student Business Ambassador (SBA) Program

What is the Nabbesh SBA program?

The Nabbesh SBA Program is an exclusive opportunity for university students exhibiting leadership qualities to gain real-world business experience liaising between their student communities and Nabbesh. SBA’s will gain practical hands-on skills while helping to lead and empower their fellow students into the workforce the Nabbesh way.

You will be an Ambassador to your fellow students by sharing basic educational tools Nabbesh offers to students:

  • Tips to create marketable Nabbesh profiles that will help them find jobs
  • Exposure to freelance, flexible-work and entrepreneurship opportunities
  • Teaching students what employers look for in entry-level candidates
  • Practical career guidance and interview practice
  • Access to a large business and employer community seeking their skills

Requirements: You must be a current university student enrolled in a full or part-time degree program. The program requires approximately 10 hours of your time each month to engage in virtual hangouts, educational opportunities, networking sessions, and on-campus events. You are not required to live in the UAE, but you are required to live in the greater MENA region.

Duration: The SBA program is a renewable 3 month arrangement between Nabbesh and the SBA candidate. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

What does Nabbesh look for in an SBA candidate?

Nabbesh looks for current university students who are preferably in their senior year and possess the following characteristics:

  • Leadership: an ability to inspire and instill action among the student body
  • Positive mindset: an ability to see open doors instead of walls
  • Energy: someone who can campaign tirelessly for a cause/ brand
  • Inspiration: the ability to inspire other students towards their future careers
  • Curiosity: the willingness to contribute ideas and learn in the process

Why work with Nabbesh?

SBA’s have the opportunity to be part of the exciting technology start-up scene in the UAE and greater MENA region by joining the fastest growing and most exciting start-up in Dubai. If you have an entrepreneurial flair or dream of starting your own business, then gaining hands-on business experience is vital to your success.

If you would like to promote a worthy brand, if you care about your community and if you want to make a difference in people’s lives, then Nabbesh is a great fit for you.

At Nabbesh, our vision is to help showcase the best in people’s skills to help everyone find jobs, particularly the youth of the Middle East.

Do you want to be part of Nabbesh’s vision? Are you excited by the prospect of helping your fellow students enrich their lives by finding meaningful jobs?

Do you want to learn from the best and work with a winning team? Do you want to contribute and have your ideas heard? Do you want to have “Nabbesh” on your CV?

If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then the Nabbesh SBA program is a great starting point for you.

We invite you to apply today! For more information and to view the application please visit this link or e-mail Ambassadors@nabbesh.com

FINALLY!!! Everything you ever wanted to know about the “rules” of freelancing in the UAE….

At Nabbesh we’ve been hearing many questions lately from our community members regarding the “rules” of setting-up as a freelancer in the UAE, and we have been listening to you!

Many of our community members in the UAE are expats who want to earn extra cash, but at the same time, want to make certain they are doing it legally!  Our Nabbesh community of nearly 30,000 come from many different backgrounds in the freelancing world, and although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for everyone, we compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to give you insights into the UAE’s rules on freelancing.

Frequently Asked Questions on Freelancing in the UAE

1. May I legally freelance in the UAE?   

Yes, you may freelance in the UAE!  However, it is important to distinguish between part-time work and freelancing.  Freelancing is working for yourself, where you are essentially a company made up of one person, which is perfectly legal as long as you are licensed to do so.

2. So, I need a license?

Yes you do!  You will need to secure a Trade License pertaining to your business activity from your selected Licensing Authority, and adhere to their stipulations.

3. What kind of license do I need?

The kind of license you need depends on the nature of the business you are looking to conduct.

There are two main ways of setting-up a business in Dubai and different license options for both, which a business setup specialist can explain in detail. The first is through the Dubai Department of Economic Development and the second is through one of the many Free Zones (e.g., Fujairah). 

a. Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) Business Setup

The main license types in the DED are:

1. Commercial (51% Emirati owned; 49% foreign owned), and; 

 2. Services/Professional/Consultancy (100% expat owned with a local Emirati service agent).  

b. Free Zone (FZ) Business Setup

For the free zones, both of the above license options apply, but the main differences are 1., an Emirati partner is not required, and 2., FZ businesses are 100% expat owned.

4. What are other benefits of setting-up through a Free Zone?

The general benefits of setting-up through a FZ are that companies can remain 100% foreign-owned and benefit from being “tax free” for 50 years, according to Article 15 of Law No. 1 of 2000 of the Emirate of Dubai.

Visas

5. If I’m not a resident, may I obtain a residency visa through one of these license options? 

Yes, you may!

6. May I freelance if I’m on my husband’s visa?

Yes, you may!  You would first need to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your husband as well as a labor card issued from the licensing authority/immigration office of the Emirate where the freelance company has been registered.

7. I’m working full-time but I’m interested in turning my hobby into a business.  May I obtain a license even if I’m sponsored by my employer?

Yes, you may!  Most (not all) licensing authorities would request you to provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your employer in order for you to start your own freelancer company.

8. How long will it take to get a freelance license and setup my business?

On average the process can take anywhere from one week to ten days. 

9. Do I need to rent office space?

The majority of licensing authorities do require you to have some sort of office space within their jurisdiction, be it something minimal like a flexi-desk or a smart office, which is often already built into the price of the company setup package offered. These packages are typically catered to fit the needs of freelancers like yourselves. 

Some licensing authorities are even able to provide you with a Trade License without taking office space of any sort, however under this option you wouldn’t be able to secure any residency visas on the company, so this option is best suited to a freelancer who already has a residency visa be it through their spouse, parent or current employer.

10. Do I have to get a freelance license through a business setup specialist or can I do it myself?

You certainly can do it yourself, however most of our community members have testified that using a business setup specialist was a wiser, more sensible and efficient option, as setting up a company in the UAE can be a very time consuming and draining process.  

There are so many facets to consider when setting up a new business in the UAE, like obtaining your trade license, applying for your visa, getting business cards printed and setting up your bank account. The business setup specialist takes care of all the admin, allowing you to focus your attention on developing and growing your business.

To learn more about special licensing options and discounts available to Nabbesh users through our partners, e-mail us at support@Nabbesh.com

Disclaimer: The information contained within this blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.  The information contained here may not necessarily relay the most up-to-date regulations by the government of the UAE.  Nabbesh always recommends you check with your local authorities to make certain you are compliant with current regulations.

Update:

11 – Where Can I find freelance work?

Click here to browse freelance work opportunities on Nabbesh.

You won’t pay me?! Nabbesh freelancers reveal the top 10 excuses used by clients to avoid payment.

Many of our Nabbesh guest bloggers have spoken about the challenges of freelancing particularly in the Middle East. The fact that we lack a mature marketplace, proper regulations to protect freelancers as well as a lack of best practices may deter many people from venturing into the freelance world.

At Nabbesh, we have made it our mission to enable freelancing via the creation of a transparent marketplace as well as learning from our community to establish a set of best practices for freelancers, regardless of their type of skill, to provide their services to clients and more importantly get paid for their work.

During September 2013, we surveyed our 25,000 freelancers from across the Middle East, with a majority in the UAE, Lebanon and Jordan to find out about their attitudes towards freelancing.

The survey has revealed that whilst freelancers are accustomed to doing free jobs for friends and family, volunteering or offering sample work to improve their portfolio, a whopping 30% of freelancers have come across a non-paying client in their career.

Here are the top 10 reasons and the story-lines behind them :

 

Middle East Freelancers not getting paid

– He/ she was not happy with the quality of work

– We had a disagreement on the fees that should be paid

– Client kept delaying and postponing and then ignoring follow up

– Client was deceitful – It turned out to be a scam

– Client simply doesn’t like to pay anyone, I found out he did the same to many other freelancers

– Client claimed they weren’t making enough money to pay me

– Client did not understand the amount of work that was put in providing the service

– I was too young to put proper agreements in place and they took advantage of that

– Client had a cashflow problem or company (startup) closed

– Company management put the project on hold and decided not to pay

– There was a requirement, deliverable and communication gap

Call it occupational hazard, freelancers are prone to these types of clients and need to protect themselves at all times and have the ability to pick up the warning signs.

Some went as far as calling it an attribute to the Middle Eastern culture as highlighted by one of the respondents: “I did not get paid by clients more than once. I blame the lack of professionalism in the Middle East. Now I don’t even lift a pencil without a non-refundable down-payment.”

We do not agree with the notion that “professionalism” is lacking in the Middle East. We believe that in the presence of a marketplace, both parties will be required to be respectful and ethical in the way they treat each other and it is the marketplace that will reward freelancers and clients who honor their agreements and deliver quality work.

We highly recommend that freelancers put together agreements (like this sample agreement from the Freelancers Union)  with their clients detailing a concrete scope of work and a milestone-based payment. Another common practice is to ask for a deposit before starting the work. Lastly, ensure you agree on the method of payment and make sure to understand the various charges for the money transfers, for example, a bank may charge up to 30$ for a transfer.

In order to be enablers for freelancing, Nabbesh is launching an online payment facility where clients are required to pay upfront for services, in the form of a deposit that Nabbesh holds in Escrow, while freelancers are bound to the work they agreed to deliver. Freelancers will get paid once the project or task has been completed.

While it may not be a panacea for the freelancing woes, we believe that a marketplace can create a layer of trust, which protects its participants and enables a healthy environment. 88% of our survey respondents confirmed that they will be managing their payments through Nabbesh in order to get paid in a timely manner and have a strong mediator in the event of conflict.

As we prepare for this major step in Nabbesh’s development we look forward to more feedback from you, to help you get better freelance gigs and we hope that our tips will help you stay vigilant!

Note: The full survey will be shared as soon as the data compiling is complete!

Nabbesh freelancers! Here are 5 tips to land a job via Nabbesh.

We have recently been on a hiring spree to grow the Nabbesh team by recruiting expert freelancers from across the Middle East to work on specific tasks or even manage certain business areas.

Our needs range from technology related jobs, to data analysis tasks to business development and community management! So of course we put Nabbesh to the test!

We were not able to fill all the positions yet, however we thought we’d share with you our top 5 tips to land a job via Nabbesh. Quite frankly, these tips are built into our selection criteria!

1 – Be professional

No matter how friendly or casual a job description may seem, make sure your application is professional. Do not use jokes, caps, shorthand or inappropriate language. Before you submit your application, make sure it is free of typos or major grammatical errors; it can be a turn off for employers. Make sure you spell the employer or the company’s name correctly. If English is not your first language then clearly mention it in your application in order to set the expectations, employers will respect you for that.

2 – Read the job description

There is nothing more off-putting to employers than someone responding in a generic way for a specific job description. For example “I am interested” or “I can do the job” which can signal to the employer that you did not make any effort to address his or her needs. Take the time to read the job post, understand the requirements and address them in your application. Highlight key strengths that you may have in relation to the job like relevant industry or market experience, refer to your skills listed on your Nabbesh profile page as well as highlight your portfolio on Nabbesh.

3 – Be specific in your application

Employers have a short attention span and they quickly scan for relevant information with respect to their job post. Be brief, make sure you get the employer’s attention but not necessarily tell them your life story. Do not by any shape or form copy and paste your CV into the job application as this will certainly lead to your application being ignored. From our experience, CVs are secondary to how you phrase your job application and how you convince the employer that you are the person for the job!

4 – Show your enthusiasm

It is quite nice when you end your application with comforting notes like how much you would love to work for the employer, that you are willing to provide the employer with additional information if needed, that you are available to start immediately and that this is an opportunity that you wouldn’t want to miss! Flattery goes a long way.

5- Follow up

Employers may be busy and may forget to respond, or they may have several applicants that they are interviewing or several proposals to go through. If you follow the above tips, we are almost 100% sure that you will get a response. In case you don’t, it is always beneficial to drop the employer a gentle reminder mentioning that you are looking forward to hear from them and always offer additional information if needed to further emphasize why you are perfect for the job!

We wish you good luck! And we are still taking applications for the jobs on Nabbesh. To apply please visit http://www.nabbesh.com/careers

Top Five Tips from One Freelancer to the Other

This is a guest post by Zainab Mansoor, a freelancer journalist and contributor to various local and international publications. She is an equally doting mom and strives to strike a perfect balance every day.

Contrary to popular belief, freelancing or the freelance industry is a comprehensive order. There are clear do’s and don’ts in the business that should adhered to, but it differs from person to person, experience to experience. Below are a few of my personal tips to all freelancers out there, pitching for work or otherwise.

1- Let not your missives speak. Written letter with tall orders are so clichéd these days – Avoid them completely. Share your profile, portfolio and your list of strengths in which you excel or wish to excel. Instead of words, be dexterous in work.

2- Association is key. Keep contact with your previous clients. Stay in touch through social mediums for repeat work or referrals.

3- Avoid baring your desperation. If there is a dearth of projects up your sleeve, look at alternate avenues for work. Desperation can make people go all funny and do things they may regret a while later. Don’t under-rate your work or its value by offering work at substantial rates. Offering reasonable pricing for repeat clients make sense but ridiculing your profile is a different game altogether.

4- Respect thy privacy. Projects may or may not contain confidential company and employee information. Irrespective, avoid discussing project or work related details with associates, family or friends. Let the details stay locked on a workstation.

5- Sense of Humor, hold on tight. Do not let circumstances get to you! There may be white and black days, highs and lows, pleasant and not so pleasant criticism. Hang in there and lay supine, facing the sky. Crack a joke or two while you’re at it!

Have you found these tips useful? Let Zainab know and make sure to follow her on twitter  @zzainabmansoor!

How to Keep Up Your Morale as a Freelance Writer

This is a Guest Post by  Anne John, a software engineer who switched careers to follow her passion for the written word. Currently she works as a web content manager with an online women’s magazine and moonlights as a freelance writer and editor. 

Anne John

Freelancing comes with many perks such as the ability to choose your work assignments and work flexibility. However, it has its downside as well. A common problem that most newbie freelancer writers face is keeping up your morale as you kick-start your freelance writing career. Trust me, I’ve been there. As a beginner, you haven’t built up a strong portfolio yet and with every pitch you send out, your hopes go soaring, only to fizzle out a week later. Rejection is hard to face and we freelance writers voluntarily expose ourselves to rejection over and over again. One of the hardest things to do when starting out as a freelance writer is keeping up your morale in the face of continuous disappointments. Here are 3 tips that helped me keep my chin up – and will hopefully help you too:

 

1. Learn to feel good about yourself: Although it is very difficult to believe in yourself when you keep getting rejection letters from editors, it is also exactly the time to give yourself some love. I save every good comment or appreciative feedback that I ever got for my writing. It could be from family, friends or total strangers. It could be on one of your published articles or even on your blog. Build a database of all the positive comments that your writing has ever garnered – you could print out the comments and save them in a folder or simply bookmark them on your computer. When you are feeling particularly uncharitable towards yourself, revisit them. Surely, all those people would not be wrong about you? This will help nip negativity in the bud, cheer you up, build your confidence and restore your faith in your work.

Keep Up Your Morale
Photo credit: Jennifer (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

 

2. Don’t take it personally: Don’t take every rejection as a personal attack on your writing skills. Perhaps, the pitch was not suited to that particular publication at that point in time or perhaps they carried a similar piece quite recently or maybe the editor simply missed seeing your mail. You have no clue and there is no need to be offended. Train yourself to let it go. If the editor gives you any explanation for turning down your pitch, view it as constructive criticism and see what you can learn from it.

 

3. Keep writing for yourself: Most freelance writers start out because of their love and passion for writing. However, we often have to alter our writing to suit the editors’ or readers’ tastes and requirements. Soon, many writers get disillusioned with the whole process and writing begins to lose its charm. To prevent this, keep writing for yourself too. Maintain a blog or a journal where you can give free reign to your pen without worrying about word limits and house style. Simply savor expressing yourself and keep the magic of writing alive. I hope these pointers will help keep your morale up on your freelance journey! All the best!

 

Don’t forget to connect with Anne via her profile on Nabbesh and follow @annejwrites on twitter.

Why using a freelancer is better than a full time employee

These days, freelancers are not odd jobbers waiting to get into full time work, they prioritise control over their life and the ability to work on different projects.  That’s why they are often reported to have a better work life balance than full time employees.  A better work life balance means happier workers, which tends to lead to better output.

One of the main costs for businesses is recruitment and staffing.  In the last few years many businesses in the Middle East had to lay off employees to counter the effects of the economic downturn.  In some service industries, where headcount is related to amount of clients on the books, the cost of continually recruiting and laying off full time employees can be quite expensive.  Replacing an employee has been estimated as costing 150% of that persons wage.  Another factor impacting cost is the high expatriate population especially in the UAE, as expats tend to return home after a few years.

Thus, using freelancers seems to be a perfect fit for firms in the region.  It allows companies to benefit from dynamic resourcing, quickly tapping into expertise when business is good, and limiting liability and cost when business slows down.  It also solves the problem of a continuous churn of expats who, according to a recent Hay Group study, are 8% less likely to stay in their current jobs compared to the global average (UAE sample).

In addition, many global firms are rapidly entering the Arab market.  The cost of setting up business is still high compared to other cities and quick growth is required. This often results in a high demand for digital talent, marketing and creative skills in addition to bilingual staff, as our Q1 2013 figures suggest.

Business growth is not being matched by a similar growth in skill pool, so smart businesses will look to find alternative ways of sourcing expertise in order to succeed.  Up until now there has been little clarity on using freelancers from a business operations and HR point of view, a legal standpoint or general media support.  There also hasn’t been a formal platform where freelancers can register their skills and employers can post their requirements.

Nabbesh.com is solving the platform problem.  The laws in the UAE (typically stricter than those in Levant ) have been changed since 2010 in favour of promoting more flexible work. It is now up to companies to look to their HR department to deliver more efficient hiring practices and embrace the concept of using freelancers as a competitive edge.

The War for Talent: Why HR professionals will focus on Freelancers

Escape-From-Cubicle-Nation

(image credit: Escape from Cubicle Nation)

The future workforce is made up of millennials.  Unlike their predecessors, they are much less likely to stay in work full time and more likely look for multiple sources of growth, stimulation and opportunity.  Trends assessed by the US Government Accountability Office suggest that in developed economies, freelance, temporary and contract employees make up about ⅓ of the workforce.  Mercer completed a study that showed Millennials prioritized having a flexible work schedule and having the opportunity to make a difference when it came to employment. Similarly in a recent survey by Ogilvy and Mather, 76% of respondents reported that they would rather spend more time with their families than make more money.  In the Middle East, Millennials employment aspirations are captured in the Asda’a Burson Marsteller Youth report, which shows that respondents prioritized a good work-life balance ahead of salary concerns.

Is a freelancer right for your business?

Traditionally, business success depended on a top down method of managing staff and work.  Some firms however have changed that and adopted a Results Oriented Work Environment, meaning the location and hours worked are less important than the final output. Work is done anytime and anywhere, based entirely on individual needs and preferences.  This method of working is a perfect fit for Millennials who do not necessarily associate success with longevity at one firm only. The career path for younger generations more closely resembles a patchwork quilt, as people attempt to stitch together multiple jobs into something that is flexible and works for them.

 

In her book “Escape from Cubicle Nation”  author Pamela Slim argues that the new norm is for people to maintain and develop skill sets in multiple simultaneous careers. In this environment, the ability to learn is something of a survival skill. Education never stops, and the line between working and learning becomes increasingly blurred.  Millennials are more aware than ever how the local, and indeed global economy affects their work options.  The Arab Youth Survey showed that people prioritized the UAE as an ideal place to work.  As potential supply increases, the Middle East employer is therefore faced with a unique advantage, the costs of human capital may decrease, but the ability to utilize dynamic resourcing by tapping into many people simultaneously can be done with only a slight increase in operational cost.

 

Many Middle East employers are still in a cautious hiring mode.  The highest growth shown on employment indices are in the Hospitality, Healthcare and Engineering industries, buoyed by the backing of the public sector and the stated aims of governments to reach 2020 goals including sporting events, expo’s, and increased tourism.  For the private sector, there has been a year on year drop however for full time jobs in the marketing and creative industries (-7%), the software and telecom sector (-17%), and IT field (-12%).  (Monster Employment Index).

This lack of demand for full time employment has surfaced in increased demand in the freelance field. Nabbesh.com Q1 data on what employers want shows the top 10 job posts as being in the software, marketing and design and creative sectors.  Creative skills are the most sought after, representing 59% of the total, Software taking up almost one third and Marketing being 10%.

 

Our recommendations are that HR professionals must consider using freelancers as a way to contribute to the sustained competitiveness of the firm.  For smaller firms that need to grow quickly and efficiently, the majority of  budget is spent on acquiring customers, leaving little for human capital.  Freelancers can solve this problem by offering the right skill to the business at the right time at the right price.

 

To access the largest pool of freelancers, visit www.nabbesh.com today and browse over 15,000 people with over 20,000 registered skills.

www.facebook.com/nabbesh   www.twitter.com/nabbeshtweets