The global gig economy has really come into its own, and it’s showing no signs of slowing. According to Statista, by 2023 its value is expected to reach USD 455.2bn. That’s something to make any aspiring entrepreneur sit up and take notice.
As a startup, it’s easy to see what investing in the gig economy can offer you. Not able to afford full-time staff but need a high level of expertise to get your business off on the right foot? Not a problem – the gig economy is characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work, so you can pick and choose skilled staff as and when you need them.
The UAE’s future goals and strategies are perfectly aligned with this emerging gig economy. with the government making no secret of its ambitions to diversify and encourage young entrepreneurs.
Sound like something you’d like to be a part of? If you want some inspiration, here are just some of the areas in which the gig economy is already paying off in the region:
- Food delivery: We all know that consumers today prioritise convenience. For food delivery companies like Tabalat, the UAE’s number one food ordering service, this is the basis of their success. And now others are looking to get in on the act: the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the likes of Careem, a ride-sharing app, moving into the food delivery sector. This is a field that is made for a gig economy model, and you will never be short of drivers looking for a flexible income.
- Logistics: The Gulf economy is young, dynamic and booming, and it’s driven by tech with high levels of internet penetration. Unsurprisingly, this means there are increasing opportunities for cross-border e-commerce – resulting in more demand for logistics services than ever before. The sky really is the limit here for gig economy startups. Just one example: Fetchr, founded in 2012, is already one of the region’s leading courier services.
- Business platforms: The UAE is not short on skills – but with the growing gig economy, what is increasingly needed is a way for freelancers to market those skills. This is where virtual skills marketplaces such as Nabbesh, founded in 2012, have been quick to step in. In fact, this model has already proved so lucrative that last year Nabbesh was acquired by leading Dubai-based freelance marketplace Ureed.
- Home services: People are staying at home more – but that doesn’t mean they have endless free time. In fact, home-working can often mean longer, more irregular hours – but the increased levels of pay can be worth it. And more money plus less time equals – that’s right – a growing demand for home cleaning services. If you’re savvy and tap into the right segment of the market – like Dubai-based Justmop – then you’ve got a sure route to success.
It’s not surprising that the gig economy is taking off: it’s reflective of the shifts we’re seeing in today’s working culture. Increasingly, employees want flexibility; they want to work where they want, when they want. The traditional 9 to 5 working model has been well and truly relegated to the annals of history.
The COVID-19 crisis, which pushed more and more people to work from home, has only speeded up a trend that already existed. A trend that we highly recommend you take advantage of.
That wraps up our first in this series on the UAE tech boom. Stay tuned for the next in the series on AI (artificial intelligence). To catch up on all our past content just visit our blog here.