Gig workers

Gig Economy can be understood as a broad term that may comprise full-time jobs but mostly comprises short term or freelance workers. The main attraction of this arrangement is the freedom to choose work hours and assignments.

The trend of the Gig economy is not new but is spreading fast especially in western cultures. There are nearly 160 million people employed in the gig economy only from the USA and Europe, as stated in a report by Mckinsey.

Many factors that have contributed to the rise in the gig workers around the globe and the major credit goes to the digitalization. The digitalization of work has allowed people to work from remote locations and even from home. Apart from this, another factor that plays a vital role in changing the trend is the startup culture. Startups cannot afford to pay full-time employees thus work with freelancers and part-time workers.

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Gig Economy in UAE

Gig work has been limited in the UAE market but it is now drastically changing with companies like Uber, Zomato, Careem Deliveroo, etc. coming into the picture. The authorities are encouraging gig workers and providing employment and changing the job market scenario drastically.

There are various advantages that can be associated with the Gig economy. The most important amongst them is the availability of a large talent pool and an efficient workforce.

The employers are providing job in the gig economy through:


Freelance workers take up assignments and provide services to various companies. This has been an ongoing practice for several years. But now it has become more evident in UAE with the support of the free zone Dubai Creative Clusters.

A recent report stated that there are as many as 100,000 licensed freelancers in UAE, who work on a gig basis. This approach has been welcomed by many companies who want to cut costs while not affecting the quality much.

Part-time Workers

A person can get a part-time job only after getting an approved permit from the Ministry of Human Resource and Emiratisation. The person then can also work for multiple employers. Hefty fines are levied on people working without obtaining valid licenses.

UAE in accordance with the GCC free zone has also started student part-time permits, such that the students can gain adequate industry experience focused on their educational field.

Fixed-term contracts

Fixed term contracts are those contracts in which employees are employed on a contractual basis for a prefixed time after which the employer reserves the right to make him full time or replace them.

These contracts are very beneficial for the employers as they protect them against any lawsuit for termination of an employee after the contract is over.

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Benefits to the Employers

There are several benefits associated with the Gig economy and these are not restricted to employers only.

  • The cost of training can be drastically reduced.
  • Recruitment of efficient and talented pool of people.
  • Helps in maintaining a low attrition rate
  • Offers better ROI(Return On Investment) than having permanent employees
  • Gig workers help the employer save recruiting and associated time costs.

Benefits to Employees

  • Can work from the comfort of your home or any place where working is easy.
  • Flexible work time and hours available to employees
  • Opportunity to work on multiple gigs at the same time
  • Ability to choose projects and assignments which they are interested in rather than being forced to take it.
  • Gig workers can earn extra incentives and may also get medical insurances.

Impact of Gig economy on the regular jobs

Gig workers are exponentially growing in Dubai, and it can be accredited to the various policy changes. It has been observed that gig workers in Dubai have increased over the past 9 months after the introduction VAT as more people were cut out from jobs and replaced with freelancers or part-timers. 

The gig economy, like a coin, has two sides; one which is benefiting the job scenario by providing more flexible and interest-oriented jobs and the second in which the employees are losing out job security, higher pay scales, medical facilities, etc.

But developing a fully operational gig economy as prevalent in the western world is going to be a challenge in itself. The reasons are immigration policies, work culture, and most importantly setting up a small contractual business is permitted in free zones only. 

A far outreach, flexibility in working models and policies are still in the mining for an actual effect on the jobs.


Gig workers are becoming more and more common in the changing market scenario, though not as popular as in the western world.

The gig economy is opening doors for new job segments and providing jobs for a larger number of people. Although these are very beneficial in small economies where they can cater to some amount of income. 

In the UAE, only certain industries like the delivery industry and News and media industry are reaping the benefits of gig workers.

Meet the author
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Anandita Sood traveled across various cities to complete her education along with the non-stop urge to follow her passion of exploring and visiting new cities. Apart from writing, you will find her engaged in photography, reading and culinary arts.

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