Jobs in UAE: Businesses hire freelancers, part-time jobseekers ahead of FIFA World Cup, end-of-year boom phase – Gulf News

F&B, retail and sales take in short-term staff to meet expected activity rush
Dubai: Businesses in the UAE – those in retail, F&B, hospitality, and sales – are going in for part-time hires as activity builds up in the run up to the FIFA World Cup opening and the full-on holiday season thereafter. Sources say this is the first time UAE’s freelance visas are getting tested out in full as employers, especially those in the service industry, look to staffing options without having to give them full employment contracts.
It is already happening for requirements as varied as advertising/marketing content creation, store personnel, customer service personnel, etc. Chefs who can show some track record and willing to fly in for a weekend or two are also much sought after. In fact, some of the hottest short-term worker demand is in the F&B space. (The tech and IT services sector has been doing this for some time now, but mostly structured through project contracts.)
The payment terms? Depends on much of a need that particular business has to take on board additional staffing resources.
As for those seeking freelance work, especially newcomers to the UAE, it is a time to build contacts and lengthen their resumes. It was in April last that the UAE announced a raft of new visa and residency permits to attract/retain new talent and skilled workers from outside.
Residency options – such as the Golden and Green visas for freelancers and self-employed, and the remote work residence permit – are suited for self-employed and start-up founders as they will not need a UAE sponsor or employer.
David Mackenzie, Group Managing Director at Mackenzie Jones Group, said the UAE employment market is poised to become a ‘gig’ economy. Freelancers and short-term contracts are often hired by ad agencies that want to complete a new client pitch, said Mackenzie. Short-term workers are also popular among marketing and events companies, and even with start-ups.
“However, they are still uncommon in several other industries,” said Mackenzie. “Given there are so many new residency types now, companies are reluctant to take on short-term employees.”
Plus, according to Mackenzie, due to the high cost of living and irregular payments for freelance work, residents feel more secure when a spouse or partner has a permanent job.
That’s the prevailing sentiment with most expats, who prefer the security that full-time employment offers. While many employees may opt for part-time time while retaining their primary job, only a few choose to become ‘full-time freelancers’, top HR and recruitment heads have said.
The Golden and Green visas remain the most sought residency permits, closely followed by fixed-term employment contracts, said Libbie Burtinshaw, Head of Operations at PRO Partner Group. “We haven’t noticed a prominent increase regarding companies hiring short-term or freelance workers to try and be more cost-effective,” said Libbie.
However, recruitment firms have seen a number of employees opting for Golden Visas, where eligible, and then getting a labour card for two years under the company. “While there is some interest in freelance visas, since most of these are issued under a free zone, they can be restrictive.”
Prof. Paul Hopkinson, head of Edinburgh Business School and the School of Social Sciences, said freelance and short-term job stints can be an excellent preparation for students.
“This gives them hands-on experience to familiarize themselves – this is more important than ever due to the rapid pace at which the job market is changing,” said Prof. Hopkinson.
From a company’s perspective, short-term and temporary contracts are advantageous to meet short-term staffing needs, he added.
“They (employees) are often used for a specific task or purpose and for a set duration of time,” Prof. Hopkins said. “Short-term contracts could increase flexibility within the workforce, and provided the individual is provided with the same benefits as the rest of the permanent staff, as required under UAE Labour Law, the arrangement can be beneficial to both parties.”
However, whether they are better than permanent contracts depends on the company’s and the employee’s needs.

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