Group of freelancers sitting in a shared working space
  • April 07, 2022

The demand for freelancers across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has surged over the past two years, a survey by has found. This has been attributed to the advancements in technology and the adaptability of remote working.

About 87 percent of freelance professionals said there had been an increase in demand for their services since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and about 78 percent said they planned to do more freelance work in 2022, the survey said.

The study, conducted from January 18 to February 18, polled around 1,764 people from 18 MENA countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

“The traditional expectations of MENA workplaces have transformed, and many professionals are opting for change,” Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at

“MENA professionals are increasingly building flexible careers on their own terms, based on their passions, desired lifestyles and access to a much broader pool of opportunities than ever before.”

The jobs market in the UAE, the second-largest economy in the Arab world, has recovered strongly since the start of the pandemic-induced slowdown on the back of the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

“Companies which did not adequately reward their staff at the beginning of this year have potentially put themselves at risk of losing some of their best assets — and consequently, will find themselves in a bidding war for their own employees as the market continues to heat up,” Jason Grundy, managing director of Robert Walters Middle East and Africa, said at the time.

Increased demand for freelancers

Working remotely during the height of the pandemic caused many professionals to look for a more flexible work-life balance. This led to the Great Resignation trend which saw millions of workers around the world resigning from their jobs to opt for a freelance gig.

The Bayt survey found that almost 70 percent of businesses in the MENA region plan to hire freelancers in 2022 owing to the number of benefits that it entails for companies.

According to the survey, digital marketing was found to be the fastest-growing sector for freelancers in 2022. This was followed by information technology, customer service, accounting, banking and finance, HR and recruiting and graphic design.

How can freelancers help? Survey results

According to the survey, almost 44 percent of respondents said that freelancers are better at delivering within tight deadlines, 25 percent believe they are good for contingency planning and 16 percent said they provide extra help for small teams or departments, while 16 percent said hiring freelancers is cost-effective.

What are employers looking for in freelancers?

Moreover, it also found that around 88 percent of employers are looking for freelancers with good time management skills, followed by an ability to communicate well (27 percent), leadership qualities (9 percent) and attention to detail (7 percent).

Although companies are looking to hire freelancers to help scale their businesses and overcome the challenges presented by today’s fast-paced digital world, freelancers also have to face their challenges which could include inconsistent pay, lack of job security and even lack of extra benefits. It, therefore, becomes important to ensure that freelancers enjoy a secure lifestyle and are able to provide their services legally in the country.

Here is where Ascent Partners can help!

Scale your freelance business in Dubai

Dubai is one of the best cities in the world to start a freelance business in. With benefits including hassle-free visa and licensing services, unmatched safety and security, a variety of business activities to choose from, a high-quality lifestyle and much more, Dubai offers the right platform to help kickstart your freelance business off on the right foot.

How can Ascent Partners help?

Ascent Partners is a business setup consultant that provides bespoke solutions to help you strategise, start-up and scale your freelance business in Dubai.

With a collective experience of 70+ years, we provide services ranging from choosing the right company type for your business and selecting the right licence for your chosen business activity to helping you strategise to build your next freelance venture in one of the world’s biggest business hubs.

Get in touch with us at or at 04 422 7339 for more details.