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The freelance revolution has been talked about for ten years or more. From the earliest days of internet job boards, organizations could seek out niche talent or short-term human resources to support their business goals, while freelancers could choose their projects selectively and structure their working lives around them. according to their personal preferences. This ideal equation became a trend that was accelerating when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
The status quo of working life changed in an instant. Traditional concerns about employee trust dissolved as productivity increased dramatically, despite all the work being done remotely. The balance of power has shifted and a war on talent has begun. While freelancers were often a resource of last resort for employers, they have now become a much sought after necessity. The digitization of businesses has created new demands for skills which are most effectively and efficiently sought in the self-employed market.
The essential resource
As organizations shift into recovery mode, data shows that companies increasingly rely on the talents of freelancers to fill knowledge gaps in niche disciplines. The independent economy provides access to skills that may not be required full-time or cannot be obtained in-house, allowing employers to avoid lengthy recruitment processes and get products to market faster. .
In addition, this trend is set to increase. A 2020 global survey by McKinsey found that 71% of executives expect to use more freelancers in the future. Contrary to the perception that freelance workers are largely aimed at startups and SMEs, multinationals are leading the way; over 50% of Google’s current global workforce are self-employed.
The career of choice
The pandemic has also served as a wake-up call for many employees who have seen the benefits of remote working on their personal lives and professional productivity. Employees were able to gain more control over how, when and where they worked, resulting in an irreversible change of mind.
Issues of work-life balance, mental health and well-being are at the forefront; people now think differently about what they want out of their professional life. A pre-pandemic McKinsey study found that 50% of the workforce will function independently by 2027. The events of 2020 have only accelerated this trend.
Independent in the Middle East
The disappearance of presenteeism, the growing demand for specialized skills, and policy changes regarding visa regulations have all combined to create the perfect environment for self-employment in the Middle East. The UAE is already one of the fastest growing independent economies in the world, and the recent introduction of the independent visa is expected to further boost the market.
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What is there for businesses?
If you are a business owner, what can freelancers do for your organization? Here are the top five benefits for employers:
1. Talents on demand You can recruit qualified professionals to complete one-off projects quickly and easily.
2. Specialized skills Freelancers can provide you with the wide range of niche skills required in modern businesses, which can rarely be accommodated under one roof.
3. Flexibility You can pay for skills as you need them based on the flow of the business, rather than hiring a long-term employee.
4. Profitability Freelancers take care of their own visas, accommodation, medical and other expenses, making them a profitable hiring option for business owners.
5. Energy and fresh ideas New people bring new ideas and freelancers have a wealth of experience to draw on with their exposure to various industries.
What Should Freelancers Consider?
If you are considering becoming a freelance writer in the area, here are the top five things to consider before you get started:
1. Visa and legality First and foremost, make sure you have the right visa and meet all other legal requirements to live and work in the area.
2. Demand for skills Think about what skills you have to offer and if there is a high demand in a freelance environment.
3. Make yourself known Think about how you’re going to market yourself and ensure a consistent workflow, whether through freelance platforms, networks, or client pitches.
4. Financial planning Make sure you are financially secure before you get started, and consider building your freelance portfolio while having employee income.
5. Collaboration and professional development Continue your professional development to keep your skills up to date and build professional collaborations.
As the pandemic has forced the acceleration of workforce restructuring, the resulting change in mindset has become a win-win situation for employers and employees. The freelance revolution is well revived and is now poised to become the backbone of our future workforce.
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