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MENA – Freelancing grows in popularity

03 June 2013

Freelancing is growing in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a new survey which found that 75.2% of respondents believe it to offer a better work-life balance and pay than working full-time.

Research by job site Bayt.com found that seven out of 10 respondents would consider working on an independent or freelance basis instead of being a full-time employee, with their main motive for doing so being to achieve a better work-life balance (30.5%).

Other reasons professionals would consider a freelance career are to be able to focus more on the things they love (23.5%); better pay (18.3%), and more control over their career path (11.8%). Over half of those questioned believe freelancers earn more than full-time professionals.

Most full-time employees take on freelance work to earn more money, according to 63.9% of professionals polled, or to explore other career opportunities (14.7%). But at the same time a third of professionals are put off from embarking upon a freelance career because they don’t know where to start.

“There is clearly a strong interest in freelancing in the region, however, the majority of people do not know where to begin. This suggests that more needs to be done to educate professionals in the Middle East on their options. After all, promoting entrepreneurship in this form is essential to addressing youth unemployment and boosting the MENA countries’ GDPs,” said Suhail Masri, VP Sales, Bayt.com.

Most respondents (44.2%) know at least five or more professionals who freelance, while students and fresh graduates are considered to be the most likely to freelance by half of those surveyed. Professionals with 5 to 10 years of experience are also thought to be likely to freelance by a fifth of respondents.

Flexibility and adaptability are the top traits a freelancer should have, according to respondents,  followed by great self-confidence, the ability to multi-task, and good time management skills.

Half of the respondents’ companies outsource work to freelancers, because it is considered to be cheaper than hiring an employee. Freelancers are also seen as being a good contingency plan between hires while a quarter of respondents believe that they are more skilled and efficient.

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