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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 28 January 2021

80% of Mena professionals prefer full-time employment over part-time​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Greater flexibility in permanent roles would boost productivity, say respondents in new survey

While freelance work has its appeal, only 7 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would choose to work part-time if given the choice. Getty Images
While freelance work has its appeal, only 7 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would choose to work part-time if given the choice. Getty Images

Eighty per cent of professionals in the Middle East and North Africa would prefer to be employed full-time rather than part-time, according to a new poll from Middle East jobs site

While about 60 per cent of the nearly 8,000 respondents to the Part-time Work in the Middle East online survey think they would be more productive if their schedules were more flexible, only 7 per cent would choose to work part-time if given the choice, due to concerns such as job security and lower pay.

“The conversation about how work evolves has often relied on the insights and experiences of employers. Our poll aims to bring out the perspective of the workforce, examining workers’ attitudes and views towards flexibility and alternative work arrangements,” said Omar Tahboub, general manager of

The UAE workplace is evolving; around 60 per cent of UAE employees work remotely at least once a week, according to a 2018 study from International Workplace Group, roughly in line with the 70 per cent globally. And in July, the government revised regulations to allow men sponsored by their families to apply for work permits without full company sponsorship — a rule previously only reserved for women.

The challenges associated with part-time employment include lack of job security for 35 per cent of those polled, lower pay (19 per cent), fewer chances of receiving a promotion (17 per cent) and lack of extra benefits (13 per cent). Around 90 per cent of respondents said freelancers should have multiple sources of income.

Those who choose to take up freelance work are motivated by earning extra income (38 per cent), learning new skills (29 per cent), freedom to practice what they like (21 per cent) and the ability to control their own work schedule (8 per cent). The skills learnt include time management, ability to market themselves, attention to detail and financial expertise.

Flexibility is the best aspect of working part-time for 46 per cent of those polled, followed by having more time to study for a quarter of respondents. Other positives include having more time for family, reduced stress levels and improved health and more time to pursue other interests.

Ian Giulianotti, executive director of recruitment and executive search at Nadia Global, said recent government policies and changing employment practices have made it “much, much easier to become a freelancer”.

“The biggest problem with it is acceptance within the marketplace, but I see that acceptance growing,” he said. “In the next three to five years, we will see that becoming a much larger proportion of the employment market.”

In general, there is more of a demand for flexible working practices, such as flexitime and the ability to work from home. “We are seeing more employers offering flexible working as an added benefit to retain and also attract talent,” said Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for human resources consulting firm Robert Half UAE.

Data for the poll was collected between July 31 and October 13, and included respondents from at least 14 countries throughout the region.

Updated: October 20, 2019 06:28 PM

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