Mena companies increasingly turn to remote specialists to cut costs

Organisations in the region are moving to more agile and flexible workforce models, according to a new report

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Companies in the Mena region are increasingly hiring independent consultants and moving to more agile and flexible workforce models to reduce costs amid the global boom in remote working, according to a report.

Organisations in the region are switching to a distributed and virtual workforce by integrating freelancers into their teams to make use of skilled talent globally, increase cost savings and reduce their office footprint, the report by talent-on-demand platform Outsized found.

“Prior to the onset of the pandemic, enterprises were struggling to find the right talent to meet their needs and skilled talent found it difficult to find the right opportunities with blue-chip clients due to a very fragmented market,” said Vikram Malhotra, managing director for the Mena region at Outsized.

“The Mena region is [now] witnessing the dual benefit of local talent getting access to global opportunities and regional organisations getting access to global talent. Overall, the region will benefit greatly from the growth of the global on-demand talent economy.”

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, employees are leaving their jobs at much higher rates than normal, in what has been called “The Great Resignation”, as they seek a better work-life balance and more flexibility with their jobs.

In March, a survey by financial services company Prudential found that 42 per cent of remote workers planned to look for a new job if their company did not continue to offer options to work from home in the long term.

The UAE is emerging as a hotspot for remote cross-border hiring, with companies in Canada, the US, the UK and Israel tapping into a “pool of high-quality jobseekers” looking for full-time remote positions, according to a recent report by payroll and remote onboarding company Deel.

The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing regions in terms of growth in the freelance economy, according to the Outsized report.

“There is a growing demand for specialist skills in the area of digital products and services in the region,” Outsized said.

“The top desired skill sets in the Mena region for 2022 are digital transformation, payments, data governance and analytics, agile methodologies, cards, project and programme management.”

The top sectors utilising freelance talent in the Mena region include financial services, management consulting and strategy consulting companies, the report said.

The education and training sectors are expected to be the next big growth opportunity for skilled freelancers, it said.

The increased acceptance of remote working, combined with growing digital adoption during the Covid-19 pandemic, led to a steep pick-up in registrations on Outsized's platform from local and international technology and data specialists, it said.

E-commerce and buy now, pay later services have also been in demand with freelancers, leading to increased interest from payments and card experts.

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Updated: August 23, 2022, 10:39 AM