Debunking the myths of Contract Recruitment in MENA Employers Edition

The culture of ‘lifetime employment’ remains strong in various countries across the globe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is no exception. Full-time employment, which is seen as a ‘lifetime financial securement’, has always been the most desirable form of employment for both organisations who are hiring, as well as job seekers. This mindset is gradually evolving with more people who are in search for greater career advancement and better opportunities. On a same note, organisations are also looking for talent with specific skillsets and experience for niche roles, and those who work productively. 


Why is this so?

  • The pandemic has accelerated the work-from-home movement and 58% of millennials and Generation Z want to work flexibly. This is a talent pool that are most sought after in MENA’s workforce.
  • In the post-2020 world of the new normal, more are choosing to work remotely or in more flexible ways that allow them to balance their personal lifestyles.
  • Companies have lifted the ban on second jobs, thus making it possible for many to adopt freelance jobs while still being a full-time employee.
  • It is becoming common for organisations to pay for skills, expertise, even if it is not a full-time role, allowing freelancers to receive fair compensation for their skills.
  • The future of work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will no longer be 9am to 6pm office hours, but a massive push to the gig economy on the back of the Covid-19 outbreak, as companies increasingly looking to hire freelancers to deliver projects and raise the efficiency bar

The gig economy is growing three times faster than the traditional workforce in the Middle East today, which is why it is important for senior leadership in companies to come together and build a digital culture, build a workspace that is different, and promotes health, empathy, power, and trust among employees. Freelance and contract solutions are becoming a more attractive option for companies that require highly specialised skills.


Two types of staffing models growing in UAE

  1. Temporary staffing – this is where the company receive workers provided by a staffing agency, and they work for an hourly wage and some benefits that are taken care of by the firm, not by the company.
  2. Contract staffing – this is where the company hires professionals for a role under a contract, so this means that the workers get paid by the work they do, instead of the time they work. They are responsible for delivering a service or product until the completion of the project for which they are hired.

Nonetheless, myths still exist with employers when it comes to hiring contractors and we will be debunking them below.


Myth 1: “Regular employees are more loyal to the company.”

A great value has been placed on loyalty and commitment to the company, even at the expense of one's own personal life for full-timers. In this sense it might be a perceivable difference in the degree of loyalty to the company between full-time employees and temporary workers or freelancers who are contracted to contribute to the company's profits for a specific period of time.

However, a rule banning expatriates from transferring their visas to another sponsor unless they left the country for six months was lifted yesterday. This allows even more people to change jobs – albeit only in the emirate where they already work – without facing the ban.

In addition, it is becoming very difficult to ask full-time employees to make sacrificial commitments as in the past, as work-life balance is becoming a value to more today. Managers are also putting in the effort to adjust in the event where a vacancy occurs. Outsourcing work to temporary and contracts with a predetermined period have thus been useful in managing the smooth delivery of projects and tasks.


Myth 2: “Full-time employees are more capable and have more knowledge and experience.”

As mentioned earlier, it is true that many people unconsciously have a bias that people who cannot work as full-time employees are working as contract workers, i.e., full-time employees are more capable.

The availability of knowledge and experience will also vary greatly depending on what the company is looking for in the position. If the role requires someone to be familiar with the company's internal situation and will be responsible for coordinating various departments, a full-time employee may be able to deliver better results. However, if you are looking to borrow the knowledge and skills of a specialist with specific engineering skills, you may want to consider a third party who may have previous experience in other industries or similar projects. Borrowing the knowledge and skills of an expert with specific engineering skills may benefit you as third-party perspectives from temporary workers or freelancer will give you an added advantage on how other companies have worked on their projects.


Myth 3: “Contract and outsourced workers are less skilled than full-time workers.”

As mentioned above, contract solutions may not be realistic for tasks that require coordination with various departments within the company. On the other hand, by bringing the necessary specialized skills into the company in the form of temporary workers or outsourcing, full-time employees can spend more time developing skills such as leadership and management, rather than acquiring those skills.

As job-based employment becomes more mainstream, human resource management will need to consider which duties should be assigned to full-time employees for skill development and which duties should be contracted out to secure skills, and a human resource strategy that puts the right people in the right places will become an important factor in corporate growth.


In conclusion…

The market for contract recruiting solutions is expected to grow more and more in the future. If you are a hiring manager who would like to start contract recruiting, but is reluctant to do so because of the complicated procedures involved, please feel free to contact us using the form below and we can help you out!

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Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled STEM talent, the team at Progressive is here for you.

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