x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Online freelancing is region’s new jobs marketplace

As the region’s labour market continues to struggle to create new jobs, freelancing has been touted as a solution, particularly online.

According to research from the McKinsey Global Institute, 160 million jobs can be carried out remotely, which is about 11 per cent of the world’s 1.46 billion service jobs. istockphoto.com
According to research from the McKinsey Global Institute, 160 million jobs can be carried out remotely, which is about 11 per cent of the world’s 1.46 billion service jobs. istockphoto.com

As the region’s labour market continues to struggle to create new jobs, freelancing has been touted as a solution, particularly online.

For recent graduates, housewives and the general unemployed, the occasional bit of work is easier to come by than a full time job and making money from their skills without the hassle of leaving the home usually is an attractive prospect.

Increasingly, new businesses that utilise the power of the internet to connect employers with potential employees have emerged, particularly in the freelance space.

According to research from the McKinsey Global Institute, 160 million jobs can be carried out remotely, which is about 11 per cent of the world’s 1.46 billion service jobs.

One of the largest players in the online skills marketplace is Elance Odesk (EO), formerly two separate companies that merged earlier this year. More than 2 million jobs are posted on both sites every year and the Middle East and North Africa region is the fastest growing market for the company.

“It’s an amazing feeling when your income is no longer tied to one company where you have little control of success,” says Rich Pearson the vice-president of EO who will be speaking at Arabnet Digital Summit this week in Dubai. “Young people can now pick and choose for whom they work and when.”

But it is not just job seekers that can be empowered through online freelancing. The same can be said for the companies.

Morten Lund, co-founder of Skype and chairman of Coders Trust, a micro-financing company aimed at freelancers in emerging markets with coding skills claims he has never hired a full time designer, but instead hired freelancers as it is more economical.

“Work is no longer a place,” says Mr Pearson. “Companies can now access talent regardless of location. With only a computer and internet connection any company has a world of talent at its fingertips.”

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