Dubai: Temporary jobs have become all the rage in the UAE as demand for short-term opportunities see an upsurge amidst the global pandemic.
Popularly known as temping, these temporary positions are not unique to the UAE and are reflective of a global phenomenon as the employment market aligns itself with the need of the times, according to recruiters and HR consultants.
Achal Ghai, group managing director, Legacy Emirates Group which runs Legacy Smart Employment Services and Temp.ae, a portal dedicated to temp jobs, told Gulf News: “Requests for new permanent hires are suddenly converting to two-three month roll-overs. COVID-19 has created financial challenges for businesses across the globe, and everyone is taking a closer look at their operations and HR practices in an attempt to reduce costs.”
“Hiring temporary staff is one of the steps in that direction which many businesses contemplate as it is cost-effective.”
Ghai said though temping or gig work has been around in developed nations for several years, especially with the rise of the gig economy due to popular apps, it has seen a resurgence lately. “In the UAE, the word has gained a lot of traction due to the increasing number of graduates, spouses on sponsored visa who are looking to gain experience and earn some quick money with temporary roles. The government has also relaxed rules allowing dependents and young professionals to take on multiple temporary assignments.”
Hard to predict
According to him, the pandemic has also made the future hard to predict. “Hiring a temp staff for the interim period until the dust settles globally is now a strategy employed by multiple organisations. This enables them to keep their business afloat while avoiding visa/EOS and other costs as well challenges to the organisation culture.”
Travel restrictions between countries is also impacting rescruitments. The ready availability of job seekers locally has led to a spurt in demand for temp jobs just as the avilability of some who have a valid visa and NOCs from their company to work elsewhere.
“There are many looking to make additional income to support their current financial situation,” said Ghai.
According to Nikhil Nanda, recruitment manager, Innovations Group, part-time work opportunities are the key to helping businesses reduce costs whilst allowing employees to earn additional income.
“The one shining light during the COVID-19 period was that companies kept all their employees’ visas open and allowed them to work for other companies that might need them,” he said.
But Nanda noted that not all industries have suffered during the pandemic. “Industries such as logistics, healthcare and manufacturing for example were in dire need of assistance as their entire recruitment pipeline came to a standstill when people could not fly into the country. Such companies were left with no choice but to hire part-time workers locally. At Innovations Group, we used this opportunity to push our temping portal justtempit.com to allow candidates to legally work part time with companies that require the additional manpower. There are many work opportunities in the market and there are more than enough talented professionals. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough efficient bridges to connect the two.”
Temp contract benefits
Aws Ismail of Marc Ellis Recruitments said employers have actually realised the huge advantages of temping, thanks to COVID-19. “Hiring employees on temporary contracts was popular in Europe, but now employers here too are understanding its benefits. Temporary contracts allow employers to scale up and down according to their situation, giving them the much needed freedom and flexibility these days.”
Ismail said it is common now for employers to go through labour supply companies which have the required licences that allow them to engage with workers and get them full-fledged work permits on temporary contracts.
Ismail said the setting up of the Marc Ellis Training Academywas a response to this trend as it aimd at providing a dedicated platform offering a range of upskilling courses for UAE residents who have faced redundancy, or the prospect of redundancy or whom simply want to use the current time to develop new skillsets.
“We decided to reach out to our network and asked professionals who are willing to spend some of their time to provide coaching/training sessions as a way to support the job hunters during these difficult times. Within a week, courses for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel for beginners had been conducted, providing a 2-hour training session for around 25 to 30 people each time, via the Zoom platform.”
What is temping?
Temping refers to a temporary position in a company. It usually indicates a job which could last for a few days, weeks or even few months.
A job is generally considered temporary if the contract between the employer and employee is less than one year or alternately, it is linked to a specific project or assignment which is short term in nature.
Today, the platform is providing courses in everything from leadership, management, business development and marketing and human resources, all the way to data analytics, robotic process automation, artificial Intelligence, blockchain, web development, graphic design and so on.
Common temp jobs and average salaries
“The temp job market is very broad,” said Ghai. “There are some companies who may hire fresh graduates with relatively very limited experience. They may be paid roughly Dh2,000-Dh5,000. a month. On the other end of the spectrum, there are large organisations who are looking to hire highly experienced and skilled individuals for specific IT, digital marketing, product launches or even corporate restructuring assignments (usually varies between three-six months) and are willing to pay a monthly remuneration of Dh20,000-Dh30,000.”
The main categories of temp jobs, according to him, include Data Entry, Call Center Representatives, warehouse assistant. Delivery drivers, customer support, IT Helpdesk, data analysts and senior IT positions.
The recruiters said as the UAE market continues to develop, there will be more need for temporary employment. “The government initiatives and recent increase in support from the authorities to hire temp staff will enable more companies to avail the benefit of hiring temporary staff. There will be a steady growth of temporary staff as the gig economy continues to evolve. If you look at the innovation and tech/fintech hubs being promoted, there will be demand of skilled youngsters to come to Dubai from Europe/North America or even Asia to facilitate implementation of new technologies and initiatives. That will also upskill temp and permanent works already working here,” added Ghai.