Upwork recently released the results of its YouGov “Future of Work” study in the UAE, which revealed 44 percent of the country’s Arabs see work moving online and almost half the UAE population is open to leaving their job to work for themselves in the future. The findings come as Elance-oDesk – the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace – announced its global re-launch as Upwork. The workplace revolution in the UAE is already apparent — businesses in the UAE have spent more than AED 390 million to date on Upwork; the country is also ranked as the 5th largest global spender in terms of online talent hiring in 2014.
Study results: Emiratis want to work for SMEs and Multinationals
Upwork’s “Future of Work” study in the UAE found that after earnings potential, the second priority when choosing a job was flexible working hours, especially for millennials and Emiratis. And simply having a job was not seen as the best financial scenario — income stability took precedence over job security for a third of the population, who saw the future of work as being multiple jobs for different clients. Further to this, 55% percent of Westerners thought location would one day become insignificant for work, compared to only 20% of Emiratis and 32% of Asians. Perhaps the most remarkable indication of changing attitudes towards work is the preference of Emiratis to the type of organisation they want to work with; 50% preferred to work with multinationals and SMEs, compared to only 24% for the government sector.
There is a global talent pool for businesses to tap into
Upwork’s launch signals a new chapter of work in which companies can hire quality talent, regardless of where the professional happens to be, in minutes. A global workforce is today becoming a reality, where access to talent will be around the clock and beyond borders. Freelancers are earning more than $1 billion annually via Upwork, which the company predicts will increase to $10 billion annually in 6 years via the new platform.
Upwork Country Manager Muhammad Osman Khan said Upwork’s clients were already posting more than three million freelance jobs and conducting 100 million searches annually: “Though we are already the largest freelance talent marketplace, enormous market opportunity remains — independent professionals are earning more than $1 trillion globally per year and there’s no reason they shouldn’t find opportunities easier online. This new platform is a radical re-imagination of work, and with 2015 declared as the year of innovation, Upwork strives to propel UAE businesses into the future, connecting minds and supporting economic growth ahead of Expo 2020 by linking businesses with great talent faster than ever before.”
“There is literally an earth-sized talent pool of professionals out there, and yet most businesses still limit their thinking to rigid local hiring models. Hiring is one of the most important things a business does, and yet it’s also the hardest and most time-consuming. Upwork’s new platform will disrupt hiring norms, making it much faster to hire a proven high-quality professional, along with real time collaboration to produce high quality work results” he said.
New Upwork platform makes finding quality freelance talent online easier
Upwork’s key features include faster hiring facilitated by enhanced matching algorithms. Traditionally it takes 43 days to hire, on Elance-oDesk it took three days, and now Upwork will reduce hiring time to less than three minutes. The platform also offers a new “work status” feature allowing freelancers to set their availability to “right away,” “later” or “not looking”; a new mobile app enabling hires to be made instantly from devices, from which it’s possible to post jobs, submit proposals, review applicants and contract on the move; and a sophisticated real-time group collaboration tool facilitating online chat and video conferencing.
With 60% of the UAE economy made up of SMEs and a rapidly expanding pool of entrepreneurs, tech and start-up companies in region, a growing number of businesses in the UAE are starting to fill in the talent gaps through Upwork.