Freelancers in Saudi Arabia and the greater MENA region have cause to celebrate, as new research reveals that there has been a marked improvement in the perception of the gig economy by industry leaders and decision makers in the Kingdom. The research, which is a collaborative effort between the independent think tank Al Aghar Group and global consultancy firm Kearney, revealed that 65% of respondents believe that the acceleration of freelancing as a result of COVID-19 is a step in the right direction, according to Zawya. A further 66% are looking forward to the rise in participation in the gig economy that is slated for the coming years.
This comes at a time when the prevailing conditions have given occasion for the flexible working conditions that can enable freelancing to shine through. This was further encouraged by the work-from-home protocols instated in most countries throughout the globe, and going by the results of this survey, this buzz is not dying down soon.
Reports from freelance marketplaces in the region such as Ureed.com have also announced a surge in new registrations ever since the virus broke out. These findings concur that more people are opting to get into freelancing as a means to weather the economic downturn that has been rampant in the past few months.
The use of freelancing platforms helps to bridge the gap between employers and gigsters all over the world by providing an enabling environment for interaction, exchange of expertise and ideas. Now more than ever, freelancers and clients alike are in search of safer, faster and more convenient ways of doing business. This is why only 37% of the respondents were truly concerned about safeguarding formal employment as COVID-19 continues to rage.
In the presentation of the results, Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed, chairman of the Board, Al-Aghar Group lauded Saudi Arabia for being resilient through adversity and showed enthusiasm for the leveraging of the pandemic as an opportunity for national growth. On the other hand, Rudolph Lohmeyer, partner and head of The National Transformations Institute at Kearney Middle East, noted that although the pandemic has not been without its fair share of hardships, most respondents of the survey were optimistic that better tidings lay ahead.
The survey was carried out on thought leaders and decision makers in the country to assess the social impact of the pandemic on the Kingdom through 2025. Aside from freelancing, it provided insight into other sectors such as healthcare, education and governance.