Freelance and short-term contract work are on the rise in the UAE, offering benefits to both employees and employers. New arrivals in the country, particularly from the tech and business consultancy sectors, are increasingly turning to freelance and short-term contract roles. Companies are adopting a “try before you buy” approach, with newcomers exploring the job market through freelance work before considering full-time employment.
Freelance and short-term work visas in the UAE have transformed the job market, bringing advantages for workers and organizations. Professionals are attracted to the flexibility of freelancing, while companies benefit from cost-effective hiring of short-term workers. The flexibility of these arrangements allows companies to assess talent before making long-term commitments.
The UAE’s freelance and short-term work opportunities have seen a year-on-year increase, driven by the recognition of the talent pool in Asia, Africa, and the MENA region. Companies are eager to tap into this talent, gaining a competitive advantage through cost savings on office space, utilities, and facility fees.
The UAE is becoming a magnet for freelance talent internationally, with a significant increase in applications and sign-ups on portals like RemotePass. Remote hiring processes streamline interviews, reduce logistical efforts, and provide quicker access to top talent.
While freelance roles have seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in popularity overall, some areas have reported even higher growth. On-time payments for freelancers remain a challenge, with payment terms varying based on the type and duration of work.
Freelancers in sectors such as graphic design and business consultancy can earn between Dh40 to Dh150 per hour and Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 per month, respectively. Payment cycles for freelancers often align with a company’s regular salary cycle, which may not always meet freelancers’ expectations for immediate payment.
Industries commonly hiring freelancers in the UAE include HR projects, accounting, data entry, marketing and communications (e.g., copywriters, graphic designers, UI/UX designers), and project-based work like real estate. Freelancers in these domains can earn between Dh15,000 to Dh20,000 per project, depending on their expertise and complexity.
Business consultants are in high demand among freelancers, often commanding rates of Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 for a three-month project. The UAE has witnessed a 125 percent growth in demand for risk professionals and a 200 percent increase in demand for consulting roles, according to a mid-year demand trends report from recruitment firm Outsized.