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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.

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7 out of 10 people in MENA would freelance

7 out of 10 professionals in the MENA region would consider freelancing

Here’s why:

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Over 50% of companies outsource work to freelancers

Here’s why:

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www.nabbesh.com is the premier destination for freelance, part time and contract based work.  With over 15,000 registered users and growing, both individuals and employers can take advantage of dynamic resourcing to get the job done quicker and more efficiently than ever before.

Want even MORE info? Check out what happened at our Freelance Summit in Dubai here 

 

(data taken from http://www.ameinfo.com/baytcom-poll-reveals-freelancing-considered-viable-343956 )

Freelance Film Making – Hind Shoufani

Hind Shoufani

Hind Shoufani is a freelance filmmaker and published poet.  Her first freelance job was at the Daily Star in Lebanon at the age of 18 when she walked into the office and demanded a writing gig.  Her freelance career has been in part determined by her nationality (a Jordanian in Lebanon would have found it difficult to get the right paperwork for a full time job) and her dislike for office based corporate work.  Whilst in New York studying for her MFA she used Craigslist to find freelance jobs ranging from voiceovers to translation to directing.

When she came to the UAE at the beginning of 2009 she used her old university contacts to land her first two assignments and soon got introduced to another producer that continued working with her for a while.  She has produced and directed videos for Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Arts, Zayed Book Award, Saadiyat island and more.  She also directed 8 webisodes for the award winning Hiroshi and Osama campaign by Chevrolet.

Having freelanced for so long,  Hind states that freelancers often have more than one skill and shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves,  its also important to make sure you have examples of work ready to show potential clients.  Choosing this style of work might be off putting for many people but Hind encourages more people to try it.  She finds this is the best way to support herself as an artist.  She is currently in post production for her latest film, and is working on another book of poetry along with a novel.

Like most people, she says network effects are vital here when finding work.  The industry is small, most people in the audiovisual world know each other, and this can often be useful to reduce the search for jobs.  However, from the company side, the SME sector, companies who generate the most volume of work, don’t have visibility into freelance talent.  Additionally these companies don’t have the budget to hire agencies, who themselves hire freelancers.  Using a middle man can solve some problems but adds unnecessary cost to the project.. Hind thinks a platform like Nabbesh is a useful way to democratize access to freelancers so clients can meet producers and video editors directly.

Freelance Photography – Lafi Abood

Lafi Abood

Lafi Abood has been doing freelance photography and filmmaking all his life, with assignments all over the world. Currently Lafi is working on a personal project called “Ibni” which is a documentary highlighting the struggles faced by mothers tending to their autistic adult sons in the Middle East.  The trailer can be seen on Vimeo here http://vimeo.com/56807395 .  He also owns his own business in Dubai called Analog Productions, after being based here for the last 4 years.

The journey from new freelancer in town to business owner has been quite interesting.  The first thing Lafi mentions for any freelancer going to a new territory is to focus on establishing a name for yourself and networking. Whilst building up his client base here, he had work from US based clients to provide cashflow.  In the meantime he did knock on agency doors in the early days but he found most success by networking and talking to clients directly.  A useful insight; most people were interested in his personal portfolio as an indicator of his skills rather than the commercial work, which in the region all tends to have a similar look and feel.

Lafi had to stop freelancing as an individual partly because a lot of agencies don’t like to deal with individuals, they prefer to deal with other businesses, and partly because of the increase in workload. Analog Productions is set up as DED registered business with a local sponsor, which gives him the freedom to work anywhere and is a lot cheaper in comparison to many of the Freezone areas in Dubai.  Lafi’s advice for anyone thinking of doing freelance film or photography is to align yourself with an agency that’s willing to take you on as a freelancer so you can build up your network and portfolio.  Ensure you take a deposit up front to cover costs.  One of his earliest problems was flying in a whole crew from the US, only to find out the client had changed his mind at the last minute.  He had to absorb the costs from his own pocket.

Lafi currently uses Nabbesh to find freelancers to complete the projects he’s working on, and last month he had around 15 freelancers in total working for Analog Productions.

Key takeaways from the Nabbesh Freelance Summit Dubai

We just held our first Freelance Summit in Dubai and were thrilled to engage with a full house at Shelter. The reasoning behind this gathering was fairly simple.  We know from our data that there is a big demand for different ways of working, our 14,000 registered users and over 250 job postings a month are testament to that, but we know there’s a big untapped market out there that can be addressed by starting an offline dialogue between the various stakeholders.

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That’s why we built an agenda bringing together freelancers to talk about their insights and advice, employers to talk about what they look for and common pitfalls to avoid, a law firm to tell us exactly what is legal regarding freelance and part time work and a business setup consultancy that told us how to incorporate freelancing activities into a proper registered business.  We even had a session talking about how freelancing can help achieve the UAE’s 2021 vision of a knowledge based economy!

Trevor gulf stat

The event was really successful, and there was definitely an appetite to hear more.  Nabbesh is hard at work building some great product features on the platform to make the experience even easier, but we also want to help people get the information they need.  We’ll be doing more events in the future based on the conversations we started last night, and of course your feedback.

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Let’s give you some highlights from the night:

We talked about the enhanced profile builder called Canvas which allows people to demonstrate their skills by linking to all their best work around the web.  Have a look at the profile below to see how much more engaging they are.

If you’ve already got a profile on Nabbesh, now is the time to use this tool to stand out from the crowd.

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(www.nabbesh.com/molham.bakir)

We also had some sneak peeks of upcoming product features. Want to be the first to test them out? Get on our mailing list!

The question on everybody’s mind was, is freelancing really legal?  How can I do it properly? Sara Khoja, Partner at Clyde & Co gave a helpful and succinct talk on what is now possible.  Some key takeaways:

  • You can hold a full time job and do work on the side with a “part time work permit” so long as you hold the necessary No Objection Certificates from your existing employer
  • Expats are able to act as official work sponsors for their dependents meaning that housewives and students can now take up part time work (with permissions from husbands / fathers)

There was a general consensus that freelancing was a good way to transition from being employed full time to becoming your own boss.  Thanks to the laws in the UAE allowing part time work, we should see more people take up freelancing in their spare time to build up their reputation in the market.

Another surprising piece of news from Creative Zone was that it is possible to incorporate your freelance activities into a proper business in the UAE, allowing you to have a corporate bank account and the ability to invoice in a company name as opposed to your personal name. Offering various license options, Creative Zone are happy to provide you with a free consultation to help you understand these options and advise on the best possible solution as per your requirements. If you want more on this, ping us in the form below with your Nabbesh profile URL and the subject “Freelance Business Licence”

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Many people think that freelancing as a work pattern is nothing but a pipe dream, available for only a few people, or those lucky enough to have a skill which is so rare that they can command extremely high prices for it.  Fortunately we had freelancers on the panel to dispel this myth. A few tips from them:

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  • It’s a competitive marketplace, you need to be proactive and show why you’re better than others
  • Talk to peers and network with others in the industry to ascertain benchmark rates
  • Start small and build your reputation through delivering quality work

The employer panel was equally fascinating as we heard exactly what it is that employers look for and we got a glimpse into the skills that are highly in demand right now:

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  • Have a sense of accountability, prove that you take the job as seriously as a full time employee
  • Demonstrating your work with an up to date portfolio means you have a better chance of standing out (top tip: use the Canvas profile builder to get employers to notice you quicker!)
  • Deliver good consistent work and aim to build reputation with your employer no matter what the project is

Some industry insights as to what’s missing in the market:

  • Arabic Content Development
  • Analytics
  • English writers who follow Arabic culture
  • Good Arabic screenplay writers, producers and directors

So you heard it here first! If you’re reading this and you’ve got these skills, or you know someone who does, get signed up on Nabbesh.com as soon as possible.

We’d like to thank The Shelter, Clyde & Co, Creative Zone and all our panelists for making the event a success.

We’ll continue doing these sessions to make sure everyone is empowered with the knowledge they need to freelance successfully.  All you have to do is bring your skills to the platform.  Whether you’re an individual or a business, hit us up in the form below to tell us more about what you want to know.

www.nabbesh.com – where talent meets opportunity.

The Future of Employment in the UAE

An article in the Atlantic titled, The Terrifying Reality of Employment talked about results of a study that suggested if you have been out of work for longer than 6 months employers won’t hire you.

Currently in the Middle East, unemployment rates are still extremely high.  The amount of jobseekers far outnumbers the amount of jobs being created.  In addition 3 out of every 4 women in the Arab world are out of work.

Whilst the public sectors of each country have traditionally shouldered this burden, most governments are at capacity with the amount of jobs they can provide for citizens.  The private sector must change its employment practices in order to reduce the number of unemployed and it may need to start with fixing the gender gap first.

For the UAE the situation may get worse.  With neighboring countries suffering an economic slowdown after the Arab Spring, the UAE is operating as the main beneficiary through increased tourism (over 10 million visitors in 2012) and consumer spending, and ultimately acting as the business hub for the Middle East.

Typically students in UAE universities have been guided into engineering, medicine, business and finance but these skills are not the most in demand skills in the world of work.  Not having the right qualifications, as well as increased pressure from competition exacerbates the problem.

Once graduated they like millions of others compete for limited job openings, often not hearing back from employers for months if at all, and some not sure if their CV has even been looked at.

It seems to be an employers market right now.  With hundreds of potential candidates to choose from for every 1 job posted, most employers aren’t that concerned with fighting to retain existing staff.  Many of those go further and identify the fact that there aren’t that many jobs out there so they aren’t worried about their staff leaving.

Its not all roses for employers though.  Many still struggle with the deluge of candidates, whilst the volume is high, there is no way of knowing what the quality is.  Firms just don’t have the resources to go through all the candidates properly and many firms aren’t even sure about the exact legalities with it comes to hiring someone – shall I use a part time worker / shall I use a freelancer / is it legal to use a student etc.

What would help then?

Job seekers must stay up to date with the evolving technologies in their skillset and a prove they are putting these skills into practice, perhaps by taking on projects and part time work.  Validation for this concept can be seen in the rise of “ The Appliject”  model. “Resumes are dead. Interviews are largely ineffectual.. Portfolios are useful,” writes Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MITSloanSchool’s Center for Digital Business. “But projects are the real future of hiring”

At Nabbesh we’re trying to solve some of these problems.

Women have traditionally been excluded from the workforce because of cultural and other socio economic reasons.  Nabbesh is a platform that can match women who have surplus skills and hours to connect with those that need them.

We want to make sure more people have the right skills that are in demand by employers.  By showing people what skills are most searched for in real time we can influence how people upskill through university or other learning courses.

By opening up the market for “always on” employment though freelance and part time work, we’re helping people stay relevant and ultimately always employable, so that they never have to be out of work.

We want to give every person the ability to make the best impression and stand out from an increasingly crowded marketplace, that’s why we built Canvas, the best profile builder to demonstrate your skill set.

By focusing on skills, we’re giving people options to pursue and monetize their real passion instead of being stuck in a job they don’t love.

Follow us as we disrupt the future of work.

nabbesh.com

References:

The terrifying reality of long term unemployment (the atlantic.com)

75% of Arab Women out of work (emirates 24.7)

Want to quit your job, don’t expect a counter offer  (zawya.com)

After university, arab women struggle to find work (al fanar.org)

Projects are the new job interviews (inc.com)

Can you really freelance in the UAE?

Yes you can! There are a few ways.

For companies registered in some Free Zones for example they can hire a freelancer for as long as they need using a “non sponsored employee ID card” which costs 720 AED (TECOM), 800 AED (Dubai Silicon Oasis) and 860 AED (Trakhees Zone)

This is suitable when the freelancer is already on their relative or spouse’s visa.  The paperwork required is fairly straightforward, and involves the usual application forms, the company’s trade licence and passport copy of the sponsor showing residence visa along with a No Objection Letter from the sponsor.

What if you don’t have a spouse or relative to sponsor your visa?

Dubai Media City  is an example of a zone which offers a Freelance Permit which identifies an individual as a sole practitioner and enables him/her to carry out business in his/her own birth name as opposed to a company or brand name.  However, because you cannot open a company account at a bank without a registered company licence, it can be quite tricky to invoice as an individual freelancer.

More useful is the freelance license offered through Fujairah Free Zone.  With this type of licence you can choose a company name, can have one or more shareholders on the license, appoint someone as person in charge, the license has up to 3 visa allocations (available at an additional cost) and most importantly, you can upgrade this license to a ‘Baby Business’ license if you need to expand your business in the future.

The Ajman Free Zone Professional Licence comes with a 2 visa allocation without the need to take an office in the free zone (unless you have more than 2 employees).  For a faster processing of licence and visa, and for freelancers who trade in goods, a licence from Ajman is what you need

Starting at AED 17, 500 with the option of monthly payments, you can be running your own business in no time!

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