GNcareers, from Gulf News

UAE's job market turning favourable for freelance hires

UAE's job market turning favourable for freelance hiresImage Credit: Supplied

Short-term job contracts in the UAE's construction sector are not happening - not yet at least. But if some of the much anticipated mega-projects – or even mid-sized ones - do get off the ground this year, it could set off demand for professionals who could be brought on board for specific contracts and strictly on a short-term basis.

Freelance hiring assignments might finally get its due place in the scheme of things.

This way, project promoters would be better equipped to deal with the human resourcing side of costs involved.

And if more short-term jobs get created, it would also signal a major break from the local job market's reluctance to consider ''freelancing'' assignments in a more serious way.

''This labour market is undergoing an evolution, with organisations applying global best practices, looking at how they can become more agile and strategically focusing their efforts on talent that drives their business forward,'' said Jonas Prising, CEO of ManpowerGroup, the $20 billion plus specialist professional services consultancy.

''So in the long-term, I don't think there is any reason to believe that you won't see a similar evolution here, including the deployment of short-term contracts. But the pace of change will be dictated by the local market conditions, and the growth plans and objectives of the country.''

According to market feedback, the recruitment scene in the UAE has not had the strongest of starts to the year. Some sectors such as retail, marketing and communications at multinationals and top-tier regional firms are continuing with filling up positions, but only on a ''need-to'' basis. Elsewhere, in other sectors the pace of hiring has slowed down considerably.

Local businesses have had to make some painful readjustments on their workforce numbers in the last three years. That phase is still not over if oil price shocks and a volatile global economy alters the dynamics here.

''In parts of the region that are resource production dependent, you'll certainly see employers become more cautious - but the degree of caution is yet to be seen as it is still early,'' said Prising, who took as CEO in May last.

''Having said that, the region, and Dubai especially, is seeing significant developments in infrastructure, and advances in the hospitality sector, owing to preparations to host major events. So the job market is not entirely dependent on oil prices.

''Since some of the projects being looked at are long-term, it is fair to assume that in Dubai, as well as other places in the region, the impact may be cushioned.''

Much will depend on how individual employers react to a fluid market situation. ''Some employers in the oil and gas sector - within the region as a whole - will definitely act in a way that is a reaction to the declining oil prices,'' said Prising. ''Outside the region, we have seen some companies reappraise their manpower needs in North America... but definitely not in this part of the world as yet.

''Any indication of instability in a city or a country will render investors more cautious of investing in that part of the region. And unfortunately, a bad investment climate often translates into a poor job market.

''With MNCs, their hiring needs in an area often depend on the demand within that area. If the instability affects the demand of their goods or services, which it often does, then yes, hiring needs will be affected too.''

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Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,